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VOL. IX.) 


















A. WOLF, M.A., D.LiT. 








- \ ^c \ "b 

AUG 2 3 1944 


THIS volume is primarily intended to be an introduction to 
the philosophy of Spinoza. The Short Treatise, though by 
no means free from difficulties, is well adapted for the pur 
pose. It contains the essentials of Spinoza s philosophy in 
a less exacting form than the Ethics with its rigid geometric 
method. The Short Treatise cannot, of course, take the 
place of the Ethics y but it prepares the way for a much 
easier and more profitable study of it than is otherwise 
possible. The Introduction and the Commentary provide all 
the help that the reader is likely to require. 

At the same time, the Short Treatise has a special interest 
for more advanced students of Spinoza as the most im 
portant aid to the study of the origin and development of 
his philosophy. And their needs have not been overlooked. 
Every care has been taken to give a faithful version of the 
Treatise ; notice is taken of all variant readings and notes 
which are likely to be of any importance ; even peculi 
arities of punctuation and the lavish use of capital letters 
are for the most part reproduced here from the Dutch manu 
scripts. And the Introduction and the Commentary, though 
largely superfluous for the advanced student, will, it is hoped, 
also be found to contain something that may be interesting 
and helpful even to him. 

The Translation was, in the first instance, based on the 
Dutch text contained in Van Vloten and Land s second 
edition of Spinoza s works. Subsequently, however, I spent 
a very considerable amount of time and trouble in going 
through the manuscripts themselves, with the result that 
the present version may, I think, claim to be more complete 
than any of the published editions or translations. 

The Life of Spinoza, which forms the greater part of the 
Introduction, is based on an independent study of all the 
available material. This material has been considerably 
increased in recent years by the researches of the late Prof. 
Freudenthal, Dr. K. O. Meinsma, and Dr. W. Meyer, so that 
the older biographies of Spinoza require correction in some 
respects. I have also utilised to a greater extent than has 
been done hitherto all that is known of contemporary 


Jewish history and Jewish life, and have devoted more 
attention to Manasseh ben Israel than he has so far received 
in this connection. It has not been thought necessary to 
give detailed references to authorities, because the earliest 
biographies and all the available documents relating to 
Spinoza have been edited by Prof. Freudenthal in a single 
volume under the title of Die Lebensgeschichte Spinozas, and 
the evidence can easily be found there. For the general 
history of the period I consulted Motley, Blok, and the 
Cambridge Modern History ; and Graetz, for the history of 
the Jews. 

In the second part of the Introduction I confined myself 
to such a general statement of the history, &c., of the Short 
Treatise as may be followed without any previous knowledge 
of the Treatise itself, leaving details for the Commentary, 
where they are dealt with as occasion arises. By the aid of 
facsimiles the reader is enabled to judge for himself on 
various matters which would otherwise have to be taken on 
trust. In the preparation of this part and of the remainder 
of the volume I found the writings of Prof. Freudenthal, 
Dr. W. Meyer, and C. Sigwart very helpful, and I am also 
indebted more or less to the other writers mentioned on 
pp. cxxvii/., or in other parts of the volume. 

In conclusion, I desire to acknowledge my obligations to 
all who have helped me in any way. Dr. Byvanck (Libra 
rian of the Royal Library, The Hague) and Mr. Chambers 
(Librarian of University College, London) have enabled me 
to consult the MSS. with as little inconvenience as possible. 
The Royal Society has given me permission to reproduce 
the facsimile on p. Ix. Prof. S. Alexander, of the University 
of Manchester, has read the Introduction in proof, and made 
valuable suggestions. I wish to thank them all very cordially, 
and I hope that the usefulness of the result may in some 
measure compensate for all the trouble given and taken in 
the preparation of this volume. 


HARROW, November 1909 








1654-1656 xxxii 


NEAR AMSTERDAM 1656-1660 xlviii 


7. SPINOZA S STAY IN VOORBURG 1663-1670 Ixviii 

8. SPINOZA S STAY IN THE HAGUE 1670-1677 Ixxxi 




TREATISE" cxxiii 



Separate Table of Contents, pp. 9, I o) I 


INDEX 241 






(Conclusion of second letter to Oldenburg) 
















" So steht es vor uns, dies Denkerleben, ganz der Wahrheit 
geweiht, und darin ebcn beruht die Erhabenheit seiner 
stillen Grosse. Denn zu sterben fur die Wahrheit, sagt 
man, sei schwer schwerer ist es fur sie zu leben."- 
\V. \YINDELBAND, Zwm Ged^chinis Spinozas. 



BARUCH or Benedict * Spinoza was born of Jewish parents, 
on the 24th of November 1632, at Amsterdam. At that 
time the Jews of Amsterdam consisted almost entirely of 
refugees, or the children of refugees, who had escaped from 
Spain and Portugal, where they had lived as crypto-Jews, 
in constant dread of the Inquisition. 

Spain had been the home of Jews long before the intro 
duction of Christianity. Under non-Christian rule they 
enjoyed considerable power and prosperity. With the in 
troduction of Christianity, however, came the desire to 
convert the Jews ; and as the Church was not very nice or 
scrupulous about the methods employed, there commenced 
a series of intermittent barbarities which stained the annals 
of medieval Christianity for many centuries. Fortunately 
for the Jews these persecutions were neither universal 
nor constant. Bad blood broke out now here, now there, 
but there were usually also healthy spots, and healthy 
members, immune from the fell disease. While the 
fanaticism of the mob was often irritated by envy, the 
fanaticism of princes was, as a rule, overcome by their 
personal interests. For the Jews of Spain numbered some 
of the bravest soldiers, some of the ablest Ministers of State, 
and, above all, some of the most resourceful financiers. The 
Kings of Spain and Portugal, accordingly, took the Jews under 
their protection, though they could not always prevent out 
breaks which involved the loss of thousands of Jewish lives. 
During periods of respite, Jews outvied their neighbours in 

* Benedicius is simply the Latin equivalent of the Hebrew Bafuch. 



their devotion to literature, science, and philosophy. They 
produced eminent poets, celebrated doctors and astro 
nomers, and most influential philosophers. Indeed the 
tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries have come to be re 
garded as the golden age in the history of the Jews since 
the dispersion, and that chiefly through the distinction 
achieved by the Jews of Spain. But fanaticism neither 
slumbered nor slept. And the climax was reached in the 
year 1492, when, under the baneful influence of Torque- 
mada, the Jews were expelled from Spain, in spite of the 
golden promises made by Ferdinand and Isabella so long 
as they needed Jewish aid against Moorish foes. Baptism 
or banishment such were the alternatives offered to the 
Jews. And those who preferred the wanderer s staff to the 
baptismal font were prohibited from taking away their gold 
or silver with them. Some two hundred thousand Jews or 
more paid the penalty for their religious loyalty, and 
wandered forth from their native land, the home of their 
fathers and forefathers for centuries ; many thousands of 
them only to meet with an untimely death owing to the 
hardships of their wanderings. Some fifty thousand, how 
ever, chose baptism, and remained in Spain. Many of them 
remained Jews at heart, fighting the Jesuits with their own 
weapons, until an opportunity should present itself of 
making good their escape with what worldly goods they 
possessed. Some of these crypto-Jews (or Maranos,* as 
they were called), as also many of the original exiles of 
1492, found refuge for a time in Portugal. But only for a 
short time. Soon the hounds of the Inquisition were on the 
scent for the Jewish blood of the New Christians, in Portugal 
as well as in Spain. The most frivolous pretext served 
as sufficient evidence. Countless converts, or descendants 

* The etymology of the name Mavano is uncertain. But it seems to have 
been applied to the New Christians in the sense of " the damned," possibly 
in allusion to i Corinthians, xvi. 22 : // any man loveth not the Lord, let him 
be anathema maranatha. 


of converts, were condemned to the dungeon, the rack and 
the stake without mercy, while princes and priests shared the 
spoils without scruple. No wonder that the eyes of Spanish 
and Portuguese Maranos were ever strained in search of 
cities of refuge. About a century after the expulsion from 
Spain, good tidings came from the revolted Netherlands. 

Not content with the wholesale expulsion and slaughter 
of Jews and Moors, the Spanish Inquisition turned its 
attention to all Christians who were in any way suspected 
of the slightest disloyalty to Roman Catholicism. And the 
work of this " holy office " was vastly extended in scope 
when the religious policy of Ferdinand and Isabella was 
adopted by their grandson, the Emperor Charles V., who 
desired nothing less than the entire extermination of all 
heresies and heretics, so that the world and the fulness 
thereof might be reserved for the exclusive enjoyment of 
Roman Catholics, with the Emperor at their head. In 
accordance with his policy he issued various edicts for the 
extirpation of sects and heresies, and introduced the Inqui 
sition into the Netherlands, with which alone we are here 
concerned. On the abdication of Charles in 1555, his son, 
King Philip II., continued his religious policy, only with far 
greater zeal. Within a month of his accession to the throne 
he re-enacted his father s edicts against heresy, and four years 
later he obtained from Pope Paul IV. a Bull for an ominous 
strengthening of the Church in the Netherlands. Instead 
of the four Bishoprics then existing, there were to be three 
Archbishoprics with fifteen Bishoprics under them, each 
Bishop to appoint nine additional prebendaries, who were to 
assist him in the matter of the Inquisition, two of these to 
be inquisitors themselves. Four thousand Spanish troops 
were stationed in the Netherlands, the government was more 
or less in the hands of Anthony Perrenot, Archbishop of 
Mechlin (better known as Cardinal Granvelle), a kind of 
Torquemada after Philip s own heart, and his underling the 


inquisitor Peter Titelmann, who rushed through the country 
like a tempest, and snatched away whole families to their 
destruction, without being called to account by any one. 
Fortunately for the Netherlands, William of Orange, Stadt- 
holder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, had learned from 
King Henry of France the whole extent of Philip s bloody 
schemes for the extirpation of dissenters. Though at that 
time a Catholic himself, he revolted from such heartless 
inhumanity in the guise of religion, and determined to 
watch and wait. In the meantime, the holy inquisitors 
had ample opportunity to slake their unholy thirst. 
Wedged in between France and Germany, the Netherlands 
were naturally influenced by the Calvinism of the one and 
the Lutheranism of the other. Under the circumstances, 
to give unlimited power to the Inquisition meant practi 
cally to condemn a whole people to death. The people were 
furious. Various leagues and confederacies were formed. 
The position of affairs seemed for a time so threatening that 
the Regent, Margaret of Parma, a worthy disciple of 
Loyola, granted an Accord in 1566 in which the Inquisition 
was abolished. But this was only done to gain time by 
duping the rather tactless malcontents. The following year, 
1567, there appeared on the scene Alva, the most bloodthirsty 
and unscrupulous villain even of his generation. He brought 
with him ten thousand veteran troops to purge the Nether 
lands of heretics. And now commenced the grim struggle 
for existence which was to last eighty long years (1567-1647). 
After various fortunes and misfortunes the seven northern 
provinces, more or less deserted by the ten southern provinces, 
leagued themselves together by the Union of Utrecht, in 
1579, to defend one another " with life, goods, and blood" 
against the forces of the King of Spain, and they decreed, 
at the same time, that " every citizen shall remain free in his 
religion, and that no man shall be molested or questioned 
on the subject of divine worship." The united provinces 
managed to hold their own under the leadership of " Father 


William," the silent but sleepless guardian of his country s 
fortunes. Commerce also soon revived, for Dutch sailors 
were more than a match for the Spaniards, whom the 
English also helped to cripple, notably by the destruction 
of the great Armada in 1588, 

The Netherland revolt against Spain and the Inquisition 
was, we may be sure, followed with keen interest by the 
Spanish and Portuguese Maranos, who had their relatives 
and agents in all the European centres of commerce. The 
decree of toleration included in the Union of Utrecht 
seemed to hold out some promise to them ; and the lot of 
the Maranos was not likely to improve (indeed their needs 
only became more urgent) when Portugal was conquered 
by Spain in 1579. About the year 1591 there arrived in 
Amsterdam a new consul from the King of Morocco. The 
consul s name was Samuel Pallache, and he was a Jew. He 
commenced negotiations with the magistrates of Middelburg, 
in Zeeland, for the settlement of Portuguese Maranos there. 
The religious temper of the clergy made the negotiations 
fruitless. But the Portuguese Maranos were in such straits 
that some of them resolved to seek refuge in Holland without 
any preliminary arrangements, relying simply on the natural 
sympathy of the Dutch with all fellow-victims of Philip and 
the Inquisition. Accordingly, in 1593 there arrived in Amster 
dam the first batch of Marano fugitives. They had sailed 
from Oporto, and had had an adventurous voyage. They 
were captured by English buccaneers and taken to London. 
They owed their release chiefly to the bewitching beauty of 
one of their number, the fair Maria Nunes, who had an 
audience of Queen Elizabeth, and actually drove with her 
in an open carriage through the streets of London. An 
English Duke offered her his hand, but the beautiful Marano 
declined the honour, being determined to return to the 
religion of her ancestors. Such was the spirit of these 
fugitive Maranos who settled in Amsterdam, and secretly 
returned to Judaism. The secret leaked out in 1596. They 


were celebrating the Day of Atonement, at the house of the 
above-mentioned Pallache, when their mysterious gathering 
aroused the suspicion of neighbours. Armed men thereupon 
arrived on the scene, and arrested the surprised worshippers 
who were suspected of being Papists. But when it was ex 
plained that they had fled from the Inquisition, that they had 
brought considerable wealth with them, and would do their 
utmost to promote the commercial prosperity of Amsterdam, 
they were set free and left in peace. Two years later, in 1598, 
they were allowed to acquire their first place of worship, 
though it was not till 1619 that formal permission was given 
to the Jews to hold public worship, nor were they recognised 
as citizens till 1657. At all events the first Jews settled in 
Amsterdam in 1593, and others soon followed from Spain, 
Portugal, France and elsewhere. What interests us here 
is that among these early arrivals were Abraham Michael 
d Espinoza and his son Michael, who was to be the father 
of our philosopher, Benedict Spinoza. 


The name Spinoza (also written variously as Espinosa, 
d Espinoza, Despinoza, and De Spinoza) was most probably 
derived from Espinosa, a town in Leon. The Spinozas 
lived originally in Spain. During the persecutions there 
some of them seem to have outwardly embraced Chris 
tianity. (As late as 1721 eight descendants of theirs, 
living in or near Granada, were condemned to life-long 
imprisonment as Judaising heretics.) Some fled to Portugal, 
others to France, but they met again in Amsterdam as soon 
as it became known that Jews were tolerated there. Bene 
dict s grandfather is twice described in the Synagogue 
archives as Abraham Espinosa of Nantes, from which it 


would appear that he lived there some time. On the other 
hand ; it seems that Michael (his son, and the father of 
Benedict) stayed at one time in Figueras, near Coimbra, 
and that his third wife hailed from Lisbon. And as tradi 
tion unanimously describes Spinoza as of Portuguese 
descent, it seems reasonable to suppose that his father and 
grandfather came from Spain or Portugal, and that their 
stay in France was only brief. 

Very little is known of Spinoza s father and grandfather. 
They were merchants, and were evidently held in high 
esteem. For, already in 1622, we find Abraham Espinosa 
filling an important honorary office in the Amsterdam 
Jewish community, of which he seems to have been the 
recognised head in 1628. His son, Michael Espinosa, held 
office even more frequently. He was Warden of his 
Synagogue in 1633, 1637-8, 1642-3, and again in 1649-50, 
when he was also one of the Wardens of the Amsterdam 
Jewish School, and presided over the charity for granting 
loans without interest. If not rich, he was probably well- 
to-do. In 1641, it is true, we still find him living in the 
Vloyenburgh, but this was probably not at that time the 
poor quarter which it became subsequently. Soon after 
wards, however, he moved into the Houtgragt (now the 
Waterlooplein), and the house in which he lived the closing 
years of his life looks substantial even now. It is num 
bered 41, and can also be identified by a stone tablet (placed 
there in 1743) which bears the inscription " t Oprechte 
Tapijthuis " (the upright tapestry house). But, whatever 
his worldly fortune may have been, Michael had more than 
his share of domestic sorrow. His first wife died in 1627. 
His second wife, Hannah Deborah, the mother of Benedict, 
died in 1638. He married again in 1641 ; but his third wife, 
a Lisbon lady, also predeceased him in 1652. The year 
before, in 1651, his daughter, Miriam, died at the age of 22, 
and but a little more than a year after her marriage to 


Samuel de Casseres. Michael had also lost three other chil 
dren, and only two of his six children, namely, Benedict 
and a daughter, Rebekah (born of the first marriage), 
survived him when he died shortly afterwards, in 1654. 

The childhood of Spinoza was no doubt happy enough. 
Until he was five he would be entirely under his mother s 
care, as was the Jewish custom. Then his school-life would 
begin, with its quaint introductory ceremonial. The cere 
mony connected with the little boy s entrance into school- 
life was probably one of the last, and happiest, of the poor 
mother s experiences. It was performed partly in school 
and partly in the Synagogue, of which his father was Warden 
at the time. According to traditional custom, three cakes 
of fine flour and honey were baked for the boy by a young 
maiden, and fruit was provided in profusion. One of his 
father s learned friends would carry him in his arms 
to the Synagogue, where he would be placed on the 
reading-dais while the Ten Commandments were read 
from the Scroll of the Law. Then he would be taken 
to school to receive his first lesson in Hebrew. Some 
simple Hebrew verses would be smeared on a slate with 
honey, and little Baruch would repeat the Hebrew letters, 
and eat the honey and other dainty things, so that the 
words of the Law might be sweet to his lips. And then 
into his mother s arms ! 

Unfortunately his mother died when Baruch was barely 
six years old, and, for the next three years or so, he was left 
to the care of his stepsister, Rebekah, who may not have 
been more than twelve years of age herself. To judge by 
subsequent events, there was probably not much love lost 
between Rebekah and Baruch. For, when their father 
died in 1654, she did her utmost to prevent Benedict from 
receiving his share of the inheritance, and he went to law, 
though he let her keep nearly everything after he had 
won the lawsuit. At his death also her conduct was not 


exemplary ; she hastened to the Hague to claim her inherit 
ance, but made off again as soon as she learned that the 
property left was hardly enough to cover his debts and 
funeral expenses. All this, however, belonged as yet to the 
future. In the meantime one may well imagine the pathetic 
picture of the child standing by his mother s grave and lisping 
the mourner s prayer in Hebrew, which he had but just com 
menced to learn. For nearly a whole year afterwards he might 
be seen twice or three times each day in the neighbouring 
Synagogue, reciting aloud that same mourner s prayer, with a 
mysterious feeling of awe and solemnity, yet glad withal to 
be doing something for his poor mother. Each anniversary 
of her death would be commemorated by a special light that 
was kept burning at home for twenty-four hours in memory 
of a light that had failed, but was believed to be still shed 
ding its rays in another sphere. And the solemn days of 
the Jewish calendar were only made more solemn for him 
by tender memories of " the touch of a vanished hand, and 
the sound of a voice that was still." 

We must not, however, exaggerate the sad side of young 
Spinoza s life though it certainly had its sad side. When 
he was in his ninth year he received a stepmother. Being 
but a recent Marano refugee from Lisbon she may not 
have been exactly the kind of woman to inspire young 
Spinoza with any specially warm attachment to Judaism. 
Like so many Maranos she may have been half Catholic in 
her training, from the necessity of outward conformity to 
Roman Catholicism. Still, she was probably kind to the 
children, and the home would resume its normal tone. The 
Jewish calendar, moreover, has its joyous Festivals, even its 
frivolous carnival ; and a good Jew like Michael Espinosa 
was not likely to neglect his religious duty to be and to 
make merry on these occasions. First, there was the 
weekly Sabbath and Sabbath eve (Friday evening) so often 
and so justly celebrated in verse even by Heine, in his 


Princess Sabbath. The spirit in which it was celebrated is 
perhaps best expressed in the following verses from one of 
the later Sabbath hymns : 

" Thou beautiful Sabbath, thou sanctified day, 
That chasest our cares and our sorrows away, 
O come with good fortune, with joy and with peace 
To the homes of thy pious, their bliss to increase ! 

" In honour of thee are the tables decked white ; 
From the clear candelabra shines many a light ; 
All men in the finest of garments are dressed, 
As far as his purse each hath got him the best. 

" For as soon as the Sabbath-hat is put on the head, 
New feelings are born and old feelings are dead ; 
Yea, suddenly vanish black care and grim sorrow, 
None troubles concerning the things of to-morrow. 

" New heavenly powers are given to each ; 
Of everyday matters now hushed is all speech ; 
At rest are all hands that have toiled with much pain ; 
Now peace and tranquillity everywhere reign." * 

Then there were the three Pilgrim Festivals, Passover, 
Pentecost, and Tabernacles, all of them essentially joyous 
in character. On the first two evenings of Passover espe 
cially, children play an important role. One can easily 
imagine the important air with which little Baruch opened 
the domestic celebrations on these occasions by asking the 
meaning of such strange dishes as bitter herbs, a yellow- 
looking mixture of almonds, cinnamon and apples, &c. By 
way of answer his father would then relate to the assembled 
household the old, yet ever new story of the bitter lives 
which the Israelites had lived in Egypt, of the bricks and 
mortar with which they had to build Pithom and Ramses 
under cruel taskmasters, until God delivered them from 

* Translated by I. Myers (see I. Abrahams : Jewish Life in the Middle 
Ages, p. 136). 


their oppressors. And the familiar story of ancient Egypt 
and its tyrants would soon lead up to the more recent 
barbarities in Spain and Portugal. Possibly, nay most 
probably, there were strangers, guests at table for hospi 
tality had become, not a luxury, but a necessity among the 
wandering Jews. Perhaps some recent arrival, fresh from 
the hell-fires of the Inquisition, would relate the latest story 
of martyrdom. On such an occasion it may have been that 
Spinoza heard of the martyrdom of " a certain Judah, called 
the Faithful, who in the midst of the flames, and when he 
was already believed to be dead, commenced to chant the 
psalm To thee, God, I commit my Soul, and died singing 
it."* But the ground-notes of the Passover evening cele 
brations were those of courage, and faith that the Guardian 
of Israel neither slumbered nor slept. 

There were also other celebrations of Israel s deliverance 
in the past. There was the Feast of Lights, or of the Re- 
dedication of the Temple (Chanukah) in memory of the 
brave Maccabees. A whole week was more or less spent as 
a half-holiday, and given to games and merriment. The 
spirit of the holiday is well expressed in a gay table-hymn 
composed by Ibn Ezra, the poet and commentator of whom 
Spinoza thought so highly. The following are the opening 

stanzas : 

" Eat dainty foods and fine, 

And bread baked well and white, 
With pigeons, and red wine, 

On this Sabbath Chanukah night. 

" Your chattels and your lands 

Go and pledge, go and sell ! 
Put money in your hands, 
To feast Chanukah well ! " f 

* Epistle 76. The incident took place at Valladolid on the 25th of July 
1644. -j- See I. Abrahams, op. cit. p. 135. 


Then there was the Feast of Lots (Purim) in celebration 
of Israel s escape from the evil designs of Haman, as told 
in the Book of Esther. As the life of the Jew would be 
come intolerably solemn if all his persecutors were taken 
seriously, Haman was treated more like a clown than a 
villain, and the half-holiday associated with his name was 
celebrated as a kind of carnival, when it was deemed wrong 
to be staid, and when wits were readily indulged in parody 
ing even Rabbis and prayers, and had ample licence to 
make fools of themselves and of others. Above all it was 
the occasion for plays, Purim plays, as they were called. 
At that time these were not yet set plays, but informal 
buffooneries linked to the story of Ahasuerus and Haman, 
or, by way of variety, turning on the story of the Sale of 
Joseph, or David s encounter with Goliath, and the like. 
On one such occasion Spinoza may have witnessed a play 
written by one of his senior school-fellows, Moses Zacuto, 
whose L Inferno Figurato (written in Hebrew) expressed the 
writer s scorn of the Inquisition. The hero of the story 
was Abraham, whose steadfastness against Nimrod and 
legendary escape from the fiery furnace were meant to 
typify the Jewish fortunes in Spain. 

Lastly, mention may also be made of what may roughly 
be described as a kind of Confirmation ceremony when 
Spinoza completed his thirteenth year. On that Sabbath 
he would chant aloud in the Synagogue a portion of the 
Law, or Pentateuch, and possibly also the portion from 
the Prophets appointed to be read on that day. After the 
service in the Synagogue, his father would entertain all his 
friends at home in honour of the occasion, and young 
Baruch would, according to custom, make a speech at 
table. This speech would, of course, have been carefully 
prepared by him for the occasion, not without the assist 
ance of his teacher ; and filial gratitude for the past and 
lavish promises for the future would begin and end a more 


or less learned discourse. One would like to know what 
he actually did say, and what he thought of it all after 
wards ! 

In the meanwhile his time must have been fully occupied. 
He was at school from 8 till n each morning, and from 2 
till 5 in the afternoon on weekdays ; and some of the hours 
when he was not at school were occupied in school prepara 
tion, and also in the study of secular subjects under a 
private teacher or teachers. Most probably he continued 
to study at the Jewish school or academy until he was 
eighteen, so as to give him an opportunity to develop that 
uncommon ability of which he showed unmistakable signs 
at the age of fifteen in the perplexing questions which he 
asked of Rabbi Morteira. At eighteen it was high time to 
think of a means of livelihood. His brother, or half-brother, 
Isaac died just about that time. His father may have thought 
of taking him into business. But Spinoza s tastes did not lie 
in the direction of business. He preferred to seek the means 
of support in some occupation that would keep him in touch 
with science and scholarship. This probably determined him 
to learn the art of polishing lenses, which was taken up by 
many learned men of his generation. By that time he may 
already have shown some of his heretical tendencies, and 
these may have given rise to some little friction at home. 
Possibly this was the reason why his half-sister Rebekah 
and his brother-in-law de Casseres tried soon afterwards to 
exclude him from his share of the property which his 
father left when he died. Spinoza, however, could scarcely 
have been so inconsiderate as to cause his father unneces 
sary pain, and most probably he kept most of his doubts to 
himself, and remained in his father s house so long as his 
father lived, that is to say, till March 1654, when he was 
in his twenty-second year. 



The general features of Spinoza s early education it is 
not difficult to delineate. The Amsterdam Jewish com 
munity had their own boys school, which was founded 
about 1638, and which all Jewish boys would attend as a 
matter of course. The general curriculum of this school is 
known from contemporary accounts. We also know the 
names and characters of some of its most important 
teachers in the time of Spinoza. There were seven 
classes in the school. In the lowest class little boys were 
taught to read their prayers in Hebrew. In the second 
class they learned to read and chant the Pentateuch in 
Hebrew. In the next class they were taught to translate 
parts of the Pentateuch from Hebrew into Spanish (which 
for a long time continued to be the mother-tongue of many 
Amsterdam Jews, notwithstanding the worse than step 
motherly treatment which had been meted out to them and 
their fathers in Spain). Here also they commenced to 
study Rashi s Hebrew Commentary on the Pentateuch a 
commentary written in the eleventh century, but sober far 
beyond its age. The boys in the fourth class studied the 
Prophets and the Hagiographa. In the remaining higher 
classes they studied Hebrew Grammar, portions of the 
Talmud and of the later Hebrew Codes, the works of Ibn 
Ezra, Maimonides, and others, according to the discretion 
of the Rabbi who instructed and advised them. The school 
hours were from 8 till 1 1 A.M. and from 2 till 5 P.M. (or earlier 
during the winter months). We are explicitly informed 
that during the hours that the boys were at home they would 
receive private tuition in secular subjects, even in verse- 
making. The school also possessed a good lending library. 

Of the teachers under whose influence Spinoza must 
have come during his school-days, the most important 


undoubtedly were Rabbi Saul Morteira and Rabbi Manasseh 
ben Israel. Saul Morteira was the senior Rabbi of Amster 
dam. Born in Venice about 1596 he studied medicine 
under Montalto, the Marano Court physician of Maria de 
Medici. Montalto died suddenly while accompanying 
Louis XIII. to Tours, in 1616, and it was the desire to 
bury Montalto in a Jewish cemetery that brought Saul 
Morteira to Amsterdam, where the Jews had only recently 
(1614) acquired a cemetery in Ouwerkerk (also called 
Ouderkerk), not very far from the city. While in 
Amsterdam, Morteira accepted a call to the Rabbinate of 
the older of the two Synagogues there (the House of Jacob). 
A third Synagogue came into existence two years later, but in 
1638 the three Synagogues were amalgamated, and Morteira 
acted as the senior or presiding Rabbi till his death, in 
1660. Morteira had had a taste of Court life, and was not 
altogether wanting in philosophical appreciation ; but he 
was essentially medieval, strait-laced, prosy, and uninspir 
ing. It is related that when Spinoza was but fifteen years 
old Morteira marvelled at the boy s acumen. By an irony 
of fate he also presided over the court of Rabbis who issued 
the ban against Spinoza in 1656. 

In Manasseh ben Israel we have a different type of 
character altogether. He was born in 1604, and had a 
tragic infancy. His father, Joseph ben Israel, was one of a 
hundred and fifty Jews whom the Inquisition in Lisbon was 
about to consign to the flames, in 1605, when Mammon was 
successfully enlisted against the priests of Moloch. A 
million gold florins, eight hundred thousand ducats, and 
five hundred thousand crusados were paid to King Philip III., 
a hundred thousand crusados to the saintly ecclesiastics, 
and they became reconciled to spare their victims the 
flames of hell on earth even if it should entail their loss of 
heaven hereafter. At the auto-da-fe in January 1605 the 
unhappy Jews were paraded in penitential garb and 


made a formal confession of their secret and most sinful 
loyalty to the religion of Jesus and of the Prophets. The 
King graciously obtained papal absolution for their heinous 
crime, and they were dismissed alive, it is true, but wrecked 
in health by torture, and robbed of their possessions by 
Catholic king and holy priests. Joseph ben Israel naturally 
fled, at the very first opportunity, with his wife and their 
infant son Manasseh. They went to Amsterdam, where 
Manasseh lived nearly all his life. He succeeded his teacher, 
Rabbi Uzziel, as Rabbi of the second Amsterdam Synagogue 
(the Habitation of Peace) in 1622, when he was barely 
eighteen years old ; started a Hebrew printing-house about 
the year 1627 ; and in 1640 he was about to emigrate to 
Brazil when he received an important appointment in the 
senior department of the Amsterdam Jewish School, where 
Spinoza must have come under his influence. Manasseh 
was not a great thinker, but he was a great reader, and 
made up in breadth of outlook for what he lacked in depth 
of insight. Like so many contemporary theologians he was 
inclined towards mysticism, it is true, but there was a touch 
of romance in his character, and, urged by an irresistible 
yearning to help his suffering brethren, his very mysticism 
with all its puerilities played a useful part : it prompted 
him to schemes which may indeed appear quixotic, which 
certainly brought his life to an untimely end, but which 
bore fruit nevertheless, and were well adapted to bear fruit 
in an age in which religion and superstition, the flame and 
the smoke, were so curiously intermingled. What he con 
ceived to be the mission of his life is indicated in the 
Biblical verse with which he headed the dedication of 
his Hope of Israel (1650). The book, it is interesting to 
observe, was dedicated to Spinoza s father and the other 
Wardens of the Jewish school. At the head of the dedica 
tion is the first verse from Isaiah xli. : To preach good tidings 
unto the meek ; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted. 


In 1655 Manasseh came to England on a special mission 
to Oliver Cromwell for the readmission of the Jews into 
England. Two years later he returned to the Netherlands, 
carrying with him the corpse of his eldest son. His great 
schemes seemed shattered. Poor, prematurely aged, and 
full of sorrows he died, at Middelburg, in 1657. 

Manasseh ben Israel was a prolific writer, and his books 
show undeniable evidence of very wide reading and extra 
ordinary industry. He cites not only Jewish writers like 
Ibn Gabriol and Maimonides, but also Euripides and Virgil, 
Plato and Aristotle, Duns Scotus and Albertus Magnus. 
Poets and legalists, mystics and rationalists he had an 
appreciation for all, if not always a very intelligent apprecia 
tion. And he rather prided himself on his secular know 
ledge, and felt flattered when he was described, not simply 
as a " theologian," but also as a " philosopher " and " Doctor 
of Physics." On a portrait engraved in 1642 he is described 
as "Theologicus et Philosophus Hebraeus." * Moreover 
he had numerous Christian acquaintances and friends, and 
corresponded with learned men and women in all parts of 
Europe even with Queen Christina of Sweden, and Hugo 
Grotius, the famous statesman, jurist and historian. In 
various letters to Vossius, Grotius expressed his great and 
sincere esteem of Manasseh. Gerhard Vossius, " the greatest 
polyhistor of the Netherlands," was on intimate terms with 
Manasseh, and visited him often. Nor was Manasseh at all 
intolerant. He was very friendly with Caspar Barlaeus, the 
Amsterdam Professor of Philosophy and Rhetoric, who 
was rather suspected of being a free-thinker. Barlaeus was 
a noted Latin scholar and poet, and prefixed to one of 
Manasseh s books (De Creatione) a Latin poem which was 

* Over this portrait, it is interesting to note, are also the words Peregri- 
nandoiQuterimus, which formed the motto or trade-mark of Manasseh s 
press ; in the top left corner there is a small shield with a picture of a 
pilgrim carrying a staff and lamp, while in the right corner are the Hebrew 
words for Thy word is a lamp unto my feet (Psalm cxix. 105). 


scarcely orthodox. We also hear of Manasseh s presence 
at a merry gathering in the house of Episcopius in honour 
of Sobierre, a noted French wit. On occasion, Manasseh 
would also introduce some of his Jewish friends to his 
Christian acquaintances. In one of his letters to a Professor 
at Leyden, Vossius mentions that Manasseh had just paid 
him a visit, and brought with him a Portuguese Jew, whom 
he desired to recommend for the medical degree. It 
does not seem unreasonable to suppose that Manasseh ben 
Israel exercised a potent personal influence over Spinoza, 
who must have studied under him for a number of years. 
Not that Manasseh was competent to make any direct 
contribution towards the development of Spinoza s philo 
sophy. But his indirect influence must have been consider 
able. After all, the greatest service which even the best 
teacher can render does not consist so much in the actual 
information which he imparts as in the stimulus which he 
gives, and the love of truth which he inculcates. And 
Manasseh, we have seen, was a man of wide culture, of 
broad sympathy, and really devoted to scholarship. What 
is more likely than that he should use his influence with 
Spinoza s father so that Baruch might be taught Latin and 
other secular subjects ? And what is more natural than 
that Manasseh, who encouraged and helped his young 
Christian friend, a son of Gerhard Vossius, to study and 
translate Maimonides, should have been even more eager to 
urge his Jewish students to study their own Hispano-Jewish 
literature, of which they were justly so proud ? 

At the house of his Rabbi, Spinoza would occasionally 
meet Christians who were interested in Judaism, or in 
the Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament. Here also 
he may have met Rembrandt, who, between 1640 and 1656, 
lived in the very heart of the Jewish quarter and was prob 
ably on friendly terms with " The Amsterdam Rabbi," as 
Manasseh was called. For Rembrandt etched a portrait of 


Manasseh in 1636, and illustrated one of his books (ihePiedra 
Gloriosa, published in 1655). Moreover, in the Hermitage 
at St. Petersburg, there is a Rembrandt painting of a Rabbi, 
aged and worn, and believed to be Rabbi Manasseh ben 
Israel. If so, we must suppose that Rembrandt, hearing of 
the return and illness of his old friend of twenty years or 
more, hastened to him to Middelburg, and, deeply impressed 
by the tragic change which had come over the once hand 
some but now prematurely aged and broken-down Rabbi, 
embodied his impression in that portrait. Perhaps it was 
the art of Rembrandt which stimulated young Spinoza to 
try his hand at drawing. For we are told that Spinoza was 
an amateur draughtsman, and his early biographer, Colerus, 
actually possessed a number of ink and charcoal sketches 
which Spinoza had made of his friends, also one of Spinoza 
himself in the costume of Mas Anjellos * (Thomas Aniellos), 
who in 1647 led the Neapolitan revolt against Spain, and 
was murdered soon afterwards. In any case, it is known 
that Spinoza had a number of Christian acquaintances and 
friends at a very early stage in his career, and that he helped 
some of them in the study of the Hebrew Bible, and it is 
not improbable that he was first introduced to some of 
them by Manasseh ben Israel, the courteous and easily 
accessible Rabbi, whom they at first consulted when they 
took up the study of Hebrew. And it is probably more 
than a mere accident that Spinoza knew and corresponded 
with Isaac, the son of Gerhard Vossius, and possessed copies 
of some of the works of both, as also of Grotius, and even 
of Delmedigo, all of them friends of Manasseh, whose own 
book, The Hope of Israel, Spinoza also possessed. 

Last, though by no means least, there was the moral 
earnestness of Manasseh. He was an earnest disciple of 
an earnest master. His teacher and predecessor in office, 
Rabbi Uzziel, was known for his moral courage. It was 
^* ." A fishrman~in his shirt with a net over his right shoulder " (Colerus). 


his outspoken condemnation of the moral laxity of a portion 
of Amsterdam Jewry that led to a schism in the young 
community, and the formation of a third congregation in 
1618. For reasons already explained, some of the members 
of the community had been Roman Catholics for several 
generations, and had grown dangerously accustomed to the 
habit of obtaining priestly absolution for moral delin 
quencies. Rabbi Uzziel would have none of it. Like the 
prophets of old he would make no truce with immorality, 
and denounced it without respect of person. Manasseh ben 
Israel also had the reputation of being an earnest and 
eloquent preacher, and probably passed on some of his 
master s moral earnestness to his pupil Spinoza. No doubt 
young Spinoza could and did draw from the wells of the 
living waters ; no doubt he could and did draw moral 
inspiration from the prophetic books themselves. Still, a 
living example of their moral tone could not fail to intensify 
his susceptibility to that spirit of the prophets which 
Spinoza s own writings still breathe.* 

The school curriculum, though fairly encyclopaedic in range 
of subjects, was all in Hebrew. Other languages and the 
more modern sciences, or the more modern treatmentof them, 
had to be studied outside the school. Spanish and Portu 
guese he learned from his parents ; Dutch, from his envi 
ronment. Morteira, who was a Venetian by birth, may have 
taught him some Italian ; and Manasseh ben Israel, some 
French. Latin, we are informed, he learned from a German 
scholar, possibly a certain Jeremiah Felbinger, a man of 
rather unorthodox reputation, who may also have taught 
him German. The study of Latin was not popular among 
the Jews at that time. It was too intimately associated with 
Roman Catholicism and the Inquisition. In fact it was usual 

* For fuller information about Manasseh ben Israel, see Kayserling s essay 
i n the Miscellany of Hebrew Literature (second series), and L. Wolf s Manasseh 
ben Israel s Mission to Oliver Cromwell. 


among the Jews to speak of Latin as " the priests language." 
Hence the knowledge of Latin was not a common accom 
plishment of Jews then. A certain Mochinger, writing to 
Manasseh ben Israel in 1632, complained that in Bohemia 
and Germany he had not come across any Jew who had 
learnt even the rudiments of Latin ; and he goe^ on to en 
courage Manasseh to persevere with his Latin and to teach it 
also to others. Even in Amsterdam, where, as the s ime writer 
states, there were a number of Jews who knew Latin well, it 
was regarded with misgiving as the medium of a worldly 
wisdom, which, like the " Greek wisdom " of old, was sus 
pected, not without reason, of leading to an estrangement 
from Judaism. And Spinoza s schoolfellow, Moses Zacuto, 
to whom reference has already been made above, and who 
began as a poet and ended as a mystic, actually fasted for 
forty days by way of penance for his early devotion to Latin. 
If, therefore, Spinoza studied Latin, it may be taken for 
granted that he also pursued other secular studies, especially 
mathematics (which he is reported to have studied under 
an Italian), and physics, both of which he soon required for 
optical work, and which may actually have disposed him to 
learn the art of polishing lenses ; probably also the later 
scholastic philosophy as expounded about that time, in the 
works of Burgersdijck, Professor of Philosophy at Leyden 
(died 1632), and by his successor, Heereboord (died 1659). 
In 1652 Francis van den Enden, an ex-Jesuit, ex-diplomat, 
ex-bookseller, doctor, and classicist, opened a school in 
Amsterdam, and Spinoza went there to complete his secular 
studies. Van den Enden was certainly unorthodox, and 
was strongly suspected of atheism. Colerus relates that 
some of the past students of Van den Enden " blessed every 
day the memory of their parents, who took care in due time 
to remove them from the school of so pernicious and impious 
a master." But he was admittedly an able teacher, and 
Spinoza, no doubt, owed to him his mastery of Latin, also 


what little knowledge he had of Greek, the advancement of 
his medical and physical knowledge, and most probably also 
his first introduction to the philosophy of Descartes, whose 
recent death, in 1650, must have attracted renewed attention 
to his writings. Van den Enden, as we shall see, was also 
kind to Spinoza in other ways, and certainly deserved some 
thing better than the tragic fate which befell him. 

In March 1654 Spinoza s father died. Spinoza had now 
to provide for his own maintenance. His "schooling" was 
finished. A new period commenced for him. 

SYNAGOGUE 1654-1656 

Spinoza had an inborn passion for clear and consistent 
thinking. And the great intellectual gifts with which 
fortune had unstintingly endowed him were abundantly 
exercised and sharpened in the prolonged study of the 
Hebrew legal and religious codes. These abound in subtle 
problems and subtler solutions. And whatever Spinoza 
may have subsequently thought of their intrinsic merits, yet 
their value as a mental discipline was undeniable. But this 
power of penetration was slowly but inevitably bringing him 
into antagonism with the very sources from which it had 
drawn strength. Moreover, even quite apart from this 
sharpening of his reasoning powers, his Hebrew studies 
provided him also with ample material and stimulus for the 
exercise of his critical acumen. The spirit of rationalism 
pervades the whole literature of the Jews of the Spanish 
period,* and the masterpieces of that literature were the pride 
of the Jewish refugees from the Peninsula, indeed, of all 
Jews. In the commentary of Abraham Ibn Ezra (1092-1 167) 
he found many bold and suggestive hints. In the Preface, 
^* See tht writer s Aristotle in Medieval Jewish Thought. 


Ibn Ezra states that he " will show no partiality in the exposi 
tion of the Law/ and although the promise seems bolder 
than the fulfilment, yet now and again one meets with " a 
word to the wise " which is just sufficient to direct attention 
to some inconsistency in Scripture, to the post-Mosaic 
authorship of certain passages in the so-called Five Books 
of Moses, or to the different authorship of the first and of 
the second parts of Isaiah. These hints, obscure as they 
may seem, justify Ibn Ezra s claim to be called "the father 
of the Higher Criticism of the Bible/ and they certainly led 
to Spinoza s subsequent important contributions to this 
kind of Biblical criticism. In the Guide of the Perplexed 
of Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) his attention was drawn 
to certain crudities and inconsistencies in Biblical theology, 
which Maimonides, indeed, tried to explain away, or to 
reconcile with the requirements of reason, though apparently, 
in the judgment of Spinoza, with little success. And Mai 
monides treatment of the institution of sacrifices as merely 
a temporary concession or device to wean Israel from idola 
try could not but suggest to Spinoza that other religious 
customs, too, were only temporary in character and validity. 
In the writings of Gersonides (1288-1344) he saw rationalism 
encroaching on miracles and on prophecy, so as to explain 
away their supposed supernatural character. Maimonides 
had already boldly asserted that any passage in the Bible 
which appeared to conflict with reason must be so re 
interpreted as to be in harmony with it. This method of 
"interpreting" Scripture into conformity with reason still 
seemed to save the priority of the Bible over human reason 
though only in appearance. Gersonides went further 
than that. Frankly admitting the possibility of a real 
conflict between Reason and Revelation, he openly declared 
that the Bible " cannot prevent us from holding that to be 
true which our reason prompts us to believe." Moreover, 
the tendency towards free thought was very much in the air 


ever since the Renaissance, and it affected young Jews as it 
affected others. For example, in 1628 there arrived in 
Amsterdam a Jewish scholar, Joseph Delmedigo by name, 
who had studied at the University of Padua. He was well 
versed in philosophy, medicine, physics, and mathematics, 
as well as in Hebrew literature, and he had also studied 
astronomy under Galileo. He seems to have stayed several 
years in Amsterdam, where Manasseh ben Israel published 
a selection of his works for him. He was a remarkable 
product of that age of conflict between the old and the 
new. Unsettled by the new spirit of the age, yet faithful 
to the old, his mind inclined now towards scepticism and 
again towards mysticism, and his nomad life was at once 
typical and expressive of a restless, vacillating mind seeking 
in vain to regain its equilibrium. And, to judge from 
contemporary complaints, Amsterdam Jewry had not a few 
of such religious malcontents, and the leaders had to cope 
with the trouble as best they could. Already in 1623 
Samuel da Silva, a Jewish physician at Amsterdam, was 
called upon to write a defence of the immortality of the 
soul, and the inspiration of the Bible, against the sceptical 
views aired by Uriel da Costa. In 1632 Manasseh ben 
Israel published the first part of his Conciliatory wherein he 
sought to reconcile the apparent inconsistencies of Scrip 
ture. The Marano refugees, like others who threw off the 
yoke of Roman Catholicism, turned back to the Bible, and 
the difficulties which some of them encountered there may 
have been one of the causes which prompted Manasseh s 
enterprise. Spinoza, no doubt, knew this book. But he 
probably appreciated the problems which it attacked much 
more than the solutions which it offered. And if the Bible 
already presented difficulties, how extravagant and un 
warranted must have appeared that elaborate superstructure 
which the Rabbis had reared upon it " line upon line and 
precept upon precept " ! At all events, Spinoza s difficul- 


ties, in so far as they turned on the narrower problems of 
the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish ceremonial, were by no 
means new. They had been clearly realised, and partly 
dealt with, by others long before him. 

As regards the wider philosophical questions, it is difficult 
to say what Spinoza s philosophy was like at that epoch 
of his life. One can scarcely suppose that his thought 
was already systematised into a definite philosophic theory. 
Most likely his views were as yet but loosely connected, and, 
in the main, negative rather than positive in tendency. And 
these views also were, in very large measure, if not exclu 
sively, suggested to him by Jewish writers. These more 
philosophical problems, too, were not altogether new, they 
had been realised, and grappled with, by other Jews before 
him. The popular conception of Creation (creatio ex nihilo) 
had been denied by both Ibn Ezra and Gersonides, who 
maintained the eternity of matter. Crescas (1340-1410) had 
maintained that God had extension, and the Jewish Mystics 
taught that Nature was animated. Maimonides had denied 
that man was the centre of creation, maintaining that each 
thing exists for its own sake, and Crescas denied the validity 
of final causes. Maimonides also had suggested the rela 
tivity of good and evil, and Ibn Ezra and Crescas had 
maintained a thoroughgoing determinism. 

Spinoza, however, felt the accumulated burden of all 
these problems, and he may already have been sufficiently 
influenced by Cartesian thought to refuse to accept any 
unproved assertions. Moreover, Spinoza lacked the power 
(one is almost inclined to call it a gift) which his Jewish 
predecessors possessed, namely, the power of detaching 
their theories from their practical everyday life. However 
advanced or heterodox their views may have been, yet they 
were conservative in feeling, and conservative in practice, 
and observed religious customs just like the most orthodox. 
Such an attitude may easily be accused of duplicity ; but 


we do not really explain it by calling it bad names. It is 
often perfectly honest, and it is to be met with in all creeds, 
at the present no less than in the past. And, after all, the 
difference is mostly one of degree rather than of kind. 
Even Spinoza s feeling remained to the end more conserva 
tive than his thought. That was why he could not help 
using the language of religion long after his thought seemed 
to have emptied it of its religious meaning. At all events he 
made no secret of his views, and he grew lax in the matter 
of ceremonial observances, whose theoretic basis no longer 
appealed to him. The elaborate dietary laws of orthodox 
Judaism must havebeen something of an obstacle in his inter 
course with Christian friends, and although he, no doubt, 
observed these laws for a time from sheer force of habit, even 
when their raison d etrehad already lost its hold on him, still 
he probably got weary of excusing his apparent unsociability 
on the ground of a custom in which he no longer believed. 
Moreover, the comparatively liberal religion of his Mennonite 
and Collegiant * friends, their Quaker-like simplicity, their 
brotherly equality, their humanitarian repudiation of strife 
and war, the plain decorum of their prayer-meetings all 
this must have tended to make him increasingly dissatisfied 
with the over-elaborated ceremonial of his own community, 
and the comparative indecorum of their Synagogue services. 
On the other hand, his Jewish neighbours were beginning 
to feel scandalised by this breach of ritual observances, his 
frequent absence from the Synagogue, and the reports of 
his attendance at Christian prayer-meetings, especially so, 
considering that his father and grandfather had held office 
in the Synagogue, and Baruch himself had been looked upon 
as a promising " light of the Exile." Mutual distrust de 
veloped into mutual antipathy. The conservatives could not 
understand how any one could, merely on account of per 
sonal inconvenience, deliberately ignore divinely ordained 

[ . * See p. xli on the character of these sects. 


precepts except from sheer perverseness. They failed to 
realise that any one who did not accept the divine origin of 
such customs, and did not see any very obvious moral pur 
pose in them, would simply not think it worth while sacri 
ficing time or anything else on their account. And Spinoza 
himself was almost equally unsympathetic when he failed to 
realise that customs which seemed a burden to him were 
nevertheless felt to be a blessing and a privilege by those 
who sincerely regarded them as divine ordinances, as oppor 
tunities of serving God ; while the apparent indecorum of 
the Synagogue was largely the outcome of Israel s feeling 
of familiarity with God. Such mutual misunderstandings 
neither began nor ended in the days of Spinoza. At 
all events trouble was brewing. After his father s death 
Spinoza probably became less cautious than before. He 
did not entirely sever his connection with the Synagogue, 
for the Synagogue accounts show that he was present in 
the Synagogue on the Sabbath, the 5th of December 1655, 
and made an offering. It was the Sabbath of the Feast 
of Lights, in memory of the Maccabean uprising against 
Antiochus Epiphanes, and Spinoza had a warm admiration 
for all enemies of tyranny did he not actually picture him 
self in the guise of Aniellos, the Neapolitan rebel against 
the tyranny of Spain ? That Spinoza should have kept up 
his connection with the Synagogue stands to reason. He 
could hardly resist the call of filial piety to recite the 
mourner s prayer for his father, even as, in the days of his 
childhood, he had done for his mother. The prayer was 
innocent enough. Though a " mourner s prayer," it was not 
a prayer for the dead, in fact it contained no reference what 
ever to the dead. It was a prayer for peace, and its ground- 
note was that of praise of God, which, coming at the moment 
of profoundest sorrow, was regarded as the finest expres 
sion of resignation and faith. Spinoza could scarcely have 
taken any serious objection to it, at that time, and on such 


an occasion, and he would thus remain attached to the 
Synagogue during his year of mourning. In the months of 
September, October, and November fell the anniversaries 
of the deaths of his sister Miriam, his stepmother, and his 
mother respectively. He would be expected to attend 
Synagogue on these occasions, and hardly be disinclined. 
We need not, therefore, be surprised to find him again in 
the Synagogue on the 5th of December. In all probability 
that was not the last occasion either on which he was seen 
in Synagogue the anniversary of his father s death, in 
March 1656, most likely saw him there again. What 
exactly happened in the interval between March and July 
1656 is not certain, though it may not be difficult to con 
jecture. Possibly some of his young Jewish friends spoke 
to him on the subject of death a subject natural enough 
under the circumstances and may have been surprised and 
shocked to hear from him that in his view the Bible did not 
teach the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and that, 
in the Bible, soul" was simply synonymous with " life." 
This might have led up to the more general question of the 
existence of disembodied spirits or angels, which Spinoza 
then described as unreal, and mere phantoms of the imagi 
nation. But what about God ? would be the natural 
rejoinder. God, said Spinoza, was also not incorporeal, but 
extended. At all events, it was these heretical views which 
were soon afterwards made the ground of his excommuni 
cation ; but they were not really the whole ground there 
were other reasons. 

Reference has already been made to the fact that, on the 
death of their father, Rebekah endeavoured to keep her 
half-brother from his share in the inheritance. Her idea 
no doubt was that Spinoza might earn his livelihood, 
whereas she had nothing wherewith to support herself, and 
ought therefore to be provided for. Possibly her brother- 
in-law, de Casseres, a prospective Rabbi, learned in the 


Law, and uncommonly shocked by Spinoza s religious 
lapses, of which Rebekah probably knew much and told 
him more, advised her that according to strict Jewish law 
Spinoza s delinquencies disqualified him from inheriting 
his father s property. Spinoza naturally resented such 
high-handed methods, and appealed to the law of the land, 
which of course took no notice of the subtleties of Rabbinic 
legislation. Spinoza won his lawsuit, but, realising the 
moral claims of his sister s position, he refrained from 
taking anything beyond a bedstead, and that very likely as 
a memento quite as much as an article of value, or of which 
he had need. This appeal to the secular arm against his sister 
hardly tended to make him more popular with his people, 
however little some of them may have sympathised with 
her peculiar methods. Moreover, the report of his heresies, 
on which Rebekah had based her exclusive claims, got abroad 
and was duly magnified as it passed from mouth to mouth. 
Meanwhile Spinoza had to earn his bread. He could 
hardly think of staying with his sister, or with any other 
relative, after this family quarrel, and he had nothing very 
definite to fall back upon for his support. Fortunately Van 
den Enden, realising his pupil s plight, came to his rescue. 
Spinoza assisted him in his school, and, in return, Van den 
Enden provided him with a home and all necessaries at 
his own house. This, of course, entailed a complete breach 
with the Jewish dietary laws. But this was not all. Van 
den Enden, as already remarked, had an evil reputation, 
and his school was strongly suspected of being a centre for 
the teaching of atheism. Whether Van den Enden really 
merited his ill repute is by no means certain. That he was 
not particularly orthodox in his views may be granted ; he 
knew too much to satisfy the requirements of the zealots. 
On the other hand, it must be remembered that when 
Dirck Kerckrinck wooed Clara Maria Van den Enden, he 
had to turn Roman Catholic before her father consented to 


the marriage (1671). Be that as it may, the school had a 
bad name, and Spinoza s reputation did not improve by his 
more intimate connection with it. Possibly some of the 
fathers, who subsequently earned the daily blessings of their 
sons for taking care in due time " to remove them from the 
school of so pernicious and impious a master" as Van den 
Enden was reputed to be, were not slow in fastening some 
of the blame on his Jewish assistant ; and Spinoza, who was 
as yet too inexperienced to appreciate the wisdom of dis 
cretion, may have given utterance to many a heterodox 
thought. If so, the scandalised fathers who repeatedly tried 
to persuade the city magistrates to close Van den Enden s 
school, and who actually did succeed in driving him out of 
Amsterdam eventually, would not keep very quiet about 
Spinoza, and the Jewish authorities would have good reason 
to take alarm. 

Except by the select few, religious toleration was scarcely 
understood in those days, even in the Netherlands. That 
the persecuted turn persecutors has become a truism ; it is 
sad, but it is true. In practice, the cry for religious tolera 
tion has all too often amounted to this : you have persecuted 
me long enough now, let me persecute you for a change. 
At the very commencement of their long struggle against 
the tyranny of the Inquisition, the mutual intolerance of the 
various religious sects in the Netherlands caused infinite 
trouble to William the Silent, and very nearly wrecked their 
enterprise. As their fortunes improved and the need of 
union became somewhat less urgent, intolerance became 
increasingly manifest. The Calvinists, who were in the 
majority, regarded their Church more or less as the estab 
lished Church, to which the Reformed clergy tried their 
utmost to compel all others to conform. When Philip III. 
made a twelve years truce with the United Netherlands in 
1609, he did so, it is said, in the sinister hope that mutual 
religious persecutions among the different religious sects 


would bring about that fall of the Netherlands which 
the Spanish troops had failed to effect. Sooth to say, 
there was considerable justification for that sinister hope. 
In 1610 the followers of Arminius (Professor of Theology 
at Leyden, died 1609) presented to the provincial parliament 
of Holland and West Friesland their Remonstrance * against 
extreme Calvinism, and the struggle between the Arminians 
(or Remonstrants) and the extreme Calvinists (or Contra- 
Remonstrants) culminated in 1619, when the Synod of 
Dordrecht excommunicated the Arminians, closed their 
places of worship, and brought about the expulsion of Re 
monstrant preachers from most of the States. Barneveldt, 
the political head of the Remonstrants and reputed to have 
been the greatest statesman of the Netherlands, was exe 
cuted ; Hugo Grotius, one of their most eminent scholars, 
was thrown into prison, and only escaped from it through 
the bold ingenuity of his wife. One interesting result of the 
banishment of Arminian pastors was the formation of the 
Collegiant sect, which simply decided to dispense with 
the clerical office altogether, and held more or less informal 
gatherings (collegia) for prayers and religious discussions 
conducted entirely by laymen. (The Mennonites, with 
whom also Spinoza stood in friendly relations, had come 
into existence under very similar circumstances during the 
sixteenth century). The events of 1619 show clearly enough 
the temper of the dominant religious sect in the United 
Provinces. Fortunately, enlightened statesmen and magis 
trates generally managed to resist the persecuting zeal of 
the Reformed or Calvinist clergy. But not always ; nor did 
the zealots relax their efforts in spite of repeated dis 
couragement. In 1653 the clerical Synods forced the 
States-General to issue a strict edict against the Socinians 

* The "five points" of the Remonstrance were (i) conditional election ; 
(ii) universal redemption through Christ ; (iii) salvation by grace ; (iv) the 
irresistibleness of grace ; and (v) the possibility of falling from a state oi 



or Unitarians, many of whom consequently went over to 
the Collegiants. 

After all, then, the decree of toleration embodied in the 
Union of Utrecht did not secure very much in the way of 
real toleration. Non-Calvinist Christians were allowed to 
live in the Netherlands without suffering in person or pro 
perty on account of their nonconformity. For those days 
even that was a great deal ; but the right of public worship 
was quite another matter. And if the Union of Utrecht did 
not secure real toleration for all Christian sects, much less 
did it guarantee anything to the Jews, who had not been 
contemplated in it at all, who had not even been formally 
admitted into the Netherlands, but whose presence had 
been more or less connived at. Even in 1619, when the 
Jewish question was definitely raised in the Netherlands, it 
was decided to allow each city to please itself whether it 
would permit Jews to live there or not. Their position 
was precarious indeed. They had to take care not to give 
offence to the religious susceptibilities of their neighbours. 
And their troubles commenced soon enough. 

About the year 1618 there had arrived in Amsterdam a 
Marano refugee from Portugal whose name was Gabriel da 
Costa. Both he and his late father had held office in the 
Catholic Church, but seized by a sudden longing to return 
to the religion of his ancestors, Gabriel fled to Amsterdam, 
where he embraced Judaism and changed his name from 
Gabriel to Uriel. His ideas about Judaism had been derived 
chiefly from reading the Old Testament, and his contact 
with actual Rabbinic Judaism somewhat disappointed him. 
He thereupon commenced to speak contemptuously of the 
Jews as Pharisees, and aired his views very freely against 
the belief in the immortality of the soul, and the inspiration 
of the Bible. These views were, of course, as much opposed 
to Christianity as to Judaism. The Jewish physician, de 
Silva, as already stated, tried to controvert these heretical 


views in a book published in 1623. Da Costa replied, in 
1624, with a treatise which was very confused, and which, 
while accusing de Silva of slander against the author, 
actually reiterated those heresies. Partly from fear that an 
outcry might be raised against the Jews as promulgators of 
heresy, the Jewish authorities excommunicated Uriel da 
Costa, and as a kind of official repudiation of all responsi 
bility for him, they communicated the facts to the civil 
authorities, who thereupon imprisoned him, fined him, and 
ordered his book to be burned. Shunned by Jews and 
Christians alike, da Costa found his existence very lonely 
and intolerable, and in 1633 he made up his mind, as he 
said, " to become an ape among apes/ and made his peace 
with the Synagogue. But he soon got quite reckless again, 
and was excommunicated a second time. Again he grew 
weary of his isolation, and once more he approached the 
Synagogue authorities for the removal of the ban. Deter 
mined not to be duped again, yet reluctant to repel him 
absolutely, they imposed hard conditions on him. He sub 
mitted to the conditions he recanted his sins publicly in 
the Synagogue, received thirty-nine lashes, and lay pros 
trate on the threshold of the Synagogue while the congrega 
tion stepped over him as they passed out. It was a cruel 
degradation. And so heavily did his humiliation weigh on 
his mind that he committed suicide soon afterwards. This 
happened in 1640, and Spinoza must have remembered the 

If the Jewish community in Amsterdam felt it necessary 
to repudiate, in such drastic manner, their responsibility for 
Uriel da Costa s heresies, so as to avoid giving offence to 
their Christian neighbours, there was every reason why they 
should feel even greater discomfort on account of Spinoza s 
heresies in 1656. It was a critical period in the annals of 
Jewish history. During the Muscovite and Cossack inva 
sion of Poland (1654-1656) entire Jewish communities were 


massacred by the invaders ; nor did the Poles behave much 
better towards the Jews during the war. Naturally, whoso 
ever could tried to escape from the scene of slaughter. 
There was consequently a considerable influx of Polish Jews 
into Amsterdam. Now, even in the twentieth century, when 
countless missionaries are sent to spread the Gospel from 
China to Peru, Jewish refugees have been shown but scant 
Christian charity under similar circumstances, so we have 
every reason to suppose that the condition of the Amsterdam 
Jewish community did not gain in security through this influx 
of destitute refugees. Then more than ever was it necessary 
to be circumspect, and avoid giving offence to the people of 
the land, especially in the matter of the most delicate of all 
things religion.* They did not want another scandal. One 
da Costa affair was enough, and more than enough. Yet 
they must not incur the responsibility for Spinoza s heresies. 
So at first they tried to bribe Spinoza. They promised him 
a considerable annuity if he would only keep quiet, and 
show some amount of outward conformity to his religion. 
They must have known well enough that silence and partial 
outward conformity do not alter a man s views ; they were 
surely shrewd enough to realise that a heretic does not cease 
to be a heretic by becoming also a hypocrite. If their sole 
object had been to suppress heresy in their midst, that was 
not the way to gain their end. Heresy would not languish 
through becoming profitable. The real motive that prompted 
them must have been that just indicated though it is very 
likely that they did not realise it so explicitly. If they had 
done so, and if they had urged these points on Spinoza, he 
would, undoubtedly, have appreciated the need for caution 
and silence. But they evidently did not understand him, 
they evidently misconceived his character entirely, and the 

* That their apprehensions were not unfounded is clear from the fact 
that even some twenty years afterwards various Synods of the Reformed 
Church tried to induce the civil powers to pass strong measures for the 
forcible ebnversion of the Jews. 


attempt to gag him with a bribe was just the way best cal 
culated to defeat their end. The only person who might 
have understood him, and whose intervention might have 
been successful, was Manasseh ben Israel. But he was in 
England then, on a mission to Cromwell. So threats were 
tried next ; but the threat of excommunication had no effect 
on Spinoza. They had reached the end of their tether. The 
only course open to them, as they felt, was to put him under 
the ban. The feeling against him was, no doubt, so strong 
that a fanatic might have tried to do him some physical 
violence. And it may be that such an attack gave rise to the 
story of an attempt to assassinate Spinoza with a dagger, as 
he was leaving the Synagogue or the theatre. But there is no 
evidence of this, and the probability is decidedly against it. 

Some time in June 1656 Spinoza was summoned before 
the court of Rabbis. Witnesses gave evidence of his here 
sies. Spinoza did not deny them he tried to defend them. 
Thereupon he was excommunicated for a period of thirty 
days only in the hope that he might still relent. But he 
did not. Accordingly, on the 2jth July 1656, the final ban was 
pronounced upon him publicly in the Synagogue at Amster 
dam. It was couched in the following terms : 

" The members of the council do you to wit that they have long 
known of the evil opinions and doings of Baruch de Espinoza, and 
have tried by divers methods and promises to make him turn from 
his evil ways. As they have not succeeded in effecting his improve 
ment, but, on the contrary, have received every day more informa 
tion about the horrible heresies which he practised and taught, and 
other enormities which he has committed, and as they had many 
trustworthy witnesses of this, who have deposed and testified in the 
presence of the said Spinoza, and have convicted him ; and as all 
this has been investigated in the presence of the Rabbis, it has been 
resolved with their consent that the said Espinoza should be anathe 
matised and cut off from the people of Israel, and now he is 
anathematised with the following anathema : 

" With the judgment of the angels and with that of the saints, with 


the consent of God, Blessed be He, and of all this holy congrega 
tion, before these sacred Scrolls of the Law, and the six hundred 
and thirteen precepts which are prescribed therein, we anathematise, 
cut off, execrate, and curse Baruch de Espinoza with the anathema 
wherewith Joshua anathematised Jericho, with the curse wherewith 
Elishah cursed the youths, and with all the curses which are written 
in the Law: cursed be he by day, and cursed be he by night ; cursed 
be he when he lieth down, and cursed be he when he riseth up ; 
cursed be he when he goeth out, and cursed be he when he cometh 
in ; the Lord will not pardon him ; the wrath and fury of the Lord 
will be kindled against this man, and bring down upon him all the 
curses which are written in the Book of the Law; and the Lord 
will destroy his name from under the heavens; and, to his undoing, 
the Lord will cut him off from all the tribes of Israel, with all the 
curses of the firmament which are written in the Book of the Law ; 
but ye that cleave unto the Lord your God live all of you this 

" We ordain that no one may communicate with him verbally or in 
writing, nor show him any favour, nor stay under the same roof 
with him, nor be within four cubits of him, nor read anything com 
posed or written by him." 

This amiable document of the " holy congregation " is 
nothing less than a blasphemy. It must be remembered, 
however, that the actual anathema was a traditional formula, 
and (unlike the preamble and conclusion) was not specially 
written for the occasion. No doubt it shows a greater 
familiarity with the phraseology of the Bible than with its 
best teaching. But the Jews who excommunicated Spinoza 
were no worse than their neighbours in this respect. These 
awful curses were but the common farewells with which the 
churches took leave of their insubordinate friends. Nor 
were these the worst forms of leave-taking, by any means. 
After all, swearing breaks no bones, and burns none alive, 
as did the rack and the stake which were so common 
in those days. The Catholic Church excommunicated 
only when it could not torture and kill ; and then its ana 
themas, though they may have been more polished in diction, 


were incomparably more brutal in effect. The ban pronounced 
upon William the Silent, for instance, contained nothing less 
than an urgent invitation to cut-throats that they should 
murder him, in return for which pious deed they would 
receive absolution for all their crimes, no matter how heinous, 
and would be raised to noble rank ; and that ban actually 
accomplished its sinister object! It is, therefore, unjust to 
single out this ban against Spinoza and judge it by present- 
day standards. Nor should it be forgotten that if Judaism 
alone had been concerned, more leniency would have been 
shown, the whole thing might have been ignored. Elisha 
ben Abuyah, the Faust of the Talmud, was not persecuted 
by the Jews, in spite of his heresies. The ban against Spinoza 
was the due paid to Caesar, rather than to the God of Israel. 

As in the case of da Costa, and for the same reasons, the 
Jewish authorities officially communicated the news of 
Spinoza s excommunication to the civil authorities, who, in 
order to appease the wrath of the Jewish Rabbinate and the 
Calvinist clergy, banished Spinoza from Amsterdam, though 
only for a short period. 

On the whole there is some reason to suppose that the 
anathema was not a curse, but a blessing in disguise. It 
freed him entirely from sectarian and tribal considera 
tions ; it helped to make him a thinker of no particular 
sect and of no particular age, but for all men and for all 

However reprehensible his heretical utterances arid un 
orthodox doings may have been considered by some of his 
fellow-Jews, yet there can be no doubt that Spinoza did not 
really desire to sever his connection entirely with them. 
This is evident from the fact that he did not ignore, as he 
might have done, the summons to come before the court 
of Rabbis in order to defend himself against the charge of 
heresy. It is true that when informed of his final excom 
munication he is reported to have said : " Very well, this 


does not force me to do anything which I would not have 
done of my own accord, had I not been afraid of a 
scandal." But the last words of this expression of his 
natural resentment only seem to confirm the suggestion 
about his previous anxiety to avoid a complete rupture, if 
he could do so honestly. It was partly perhaps also for this 
reason that even after his excommunication he addressed 
to the Synagogue authorities an Apology (written in Spanish) 
in which he probably sought to defend his heretical views 
by showing that they had the support of some of the most 
eminent Rabbis, and to condemn the iniquity of fastening 
on him " horrible practices and other enormities" because 
of his neglect of mere ceremonial observances. Unfortu 
nately, this document has not yet been recovered, though 
some of its contents are said to have been subsequently in 
corporated in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. It would 
throw a flood of light on Spinoza s mental history. How 
ever, the Apology did not mend matters. Cut off from his 
community, without kith or kin, he stood alone, but firm 
and unshaken. Unlike da Costa, he never winced. He 
seems to have got into touch with Jews again afterwards ; 
but it was they who had to seek him. 


Banished from Amsterdam, Spinoza went to live in Ou- 
werkerk, a little village to the south of Amsterdam. Possibly 
he had some Christian friends there who had influence with 
the civil authorities ; and apparently he meant to return to 
Amsterdam at the earliest opportunity. Maybe also he was 
not altogether uninfluenced by the thought that the Jewish 
cemetery was there, and that his mother, his sister, his father, 


and others once dear to him, had found their last resting- 
place in it. 

For his support he had to rely on the lenses which he 
made an art which he had mastered during the years 
immediately preceding his exile. He made lenses for spec 
tacles, microscopes, and telescopes, and his friends sold 
them for him. The work suited his tastes well enough, be 
cause it kept him in touch with his scientific studies. And 
he evidently excelled in it, for later on his fame as an 
optician attracted the notice of Huygens and Leibniz, 
among others. But it was an unfortunate occupation 
otherwise. The fine glass-dust which he inhaled during his 
work must have been very injurious to his health, especially 
when we bear in mind that he eventually died of consump 
tion, and that he probably inherited the disease from his 
mother, who died so young. For the time being, however, 
it was a congenial occupation, and, with his frugal habits, 
left him sufficient time to pursue his scientific and philo 
sophic studies. 

As already suggested, Spinoza did not stay long in Ouwer- 
kerk, but returned, after a few months, to Amsterdam, where 
he remained till 1660. Of the events which happened 
during this period (1656-1660) we possess the most meagre 
information. Apparently he gave some private lessons in 
philosophy, and pursued his studies unremittingly. At the 
end of this period he had already left Descartes behind him, 
and had thought out the essentials of his own philosophy. 

From Spinoza s subsequent correspondence, we obtain a 
glimpse of his friends and associates during this period, 
while the opening pages of his Improvement of the Under 
standing at once enlighten and mystify us about his life 
during those last years in Amsterdam. 

After leaving Amsterdam in 1660 Spinoza continued a 
friendly correspondence with several residents in Amster 
dam, whom he also visited for a short time in 1663. These 


correspondents must therefore have been known to him 
during his stay in Amsterdam, and what is known about 
them helps to throw some light on this obscure period in 
Spinoza s life-history. They were Pieter Balling, Jarig 
Jelles, Dirck Kerckrinck, Lodewijk Meyer, Simon Joosten de 
Vries, and Jan Rieuwertsz. 

Pieter Balling had acted for some time as the representa 
tive or agent of various Spanish merchants. And it is just 
possible that Spinoza s knowledge of Spanish first brought 
him into touch with him. Balling was a Mennonite, and a 
pronounced enemy of dogmatism. In 1662 he published a 
book entitled The Light on the Candlestick, in which he 
attacked religion based on stereotyped dogmas, and advo 
cated a religion, partly rationalistic, partly mystical, based 
on the inward light of the soul. The whole spirit of the 
book might be summed up in the familiar lines of Matthew 

Arnold : 

" These hundred doctors try 

To preach thee to their school. 
We have the truth, they cry. 

And yet their oracle, 
Trumpet it as they will, is but the same as thine. 

" Once read thy own breast right, 
And thou has done with fears. 
Man gets no other light, 

Search he a thousand years. 
Sink in thyself: there ask what ails thee, at that shrine." 

In 1664 he translated into Dutch Spinoza s version of 
Descartes Principia. In a letter written in the same year, 
we see Spinoza trying to console Balling on the loss of his 
child, and dealing tenderly with Balling s " premonitions " 
of his impending loss. 

Jarig Jelles was at one time a spice-merchant in Amster 
dam, but feeling that " knowledge is better than choice 
gold, that wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things 


that may be desired are not to be compared to her/ he left 
his business in the charge of a manager, and devoted him 
self to study. He wrote a book to show that Cartesianism 
did not lead to atheism, but was, on the contrary, quite 
compatible with the Christian religion. Spinoza seems to 
have helped him in the composition of this book. Jelles 
was one of the friends who persuaded Spinoza to publish 
his version of Descartes Principia, and even defrayed the 
cost of its publication. He also took an active share in the 
publication of Spinoza s posthumous works, the preface to 
which is so similar in tone to the book of Jelles that he is 
regarded as its author by some very competent authorities. 

Dirck Kerckrinck was seven years younger than Spinoza, 
whom he first met at Van den Enden s school (? 1652-6). 
He studied medicine, and became the author of various 
medical treatises. Colerus relates some gossip to the effect 
that Spinoza and Kerckrinck were rivals for the hand of 
Clara Maria, the gifted daughter of Van den Enden, and 
that she accepted Kerckrinck because he was rich, while 
Spinoza was poor. But as Clara Maria was born in 1644, 
this very natural attempt to introduce a touch of romance 
into Spinoza s life of single blessedness is an utter failure. 
Clara Maria was barely sixteen when Spinoza left Amster 
dam for good in 1660, and he had ceased to be her father s 
pupil in 1654 or, at the latest, in 1656. As an inmate in her 
father s house he may have been fond of her as a mere 
child, and some expression of endearment uttered in that 
sense probably gave rise to this pretty tale. It is true, how 
ever, that Kerckrinck did marry her in 1671, as already 
mentioned. Spinoza possessed several of the medical works 
of Kerckrinck, who had, no doubt, sent them to him as an 
old friend of his. 

Lodewijk Meyer was a medical practitioner in Amsterdam. 
He was about two years older than Spinoza, and a man of 
versatile talents. He had studied not only medicine but 


also philosophy and theology, made his bid as poet and 
dramatist, lexicographer and stage -manager, and was the 
moving spirit in a certain literary society, the name and 
motto of which was (as we need scarcely be surprised to 
hear) Nil volentibus arduum. It was he who wrote the 
interesting preface to Spinoza s version of Descartes 

Simon Joosten de Vries was an Amsterdam merchant. 
He was only about a year younger than Spinoza, though his 
attitude towards Spinoza was always that of a humble 
disciple. He studied medicine under the direction of 
Spinoza, and his attachment to Spinoza is evident from a 
letter of his written in 1663, after Spinoza had left Amster 
dam. " For a long time," he writes, " I have been longing 
to be with you ; but the weather and the hard winter have 
not been propitious to me. Sometimes I complain of my 
lot in being removed from you by a distance which separates 
us so much. Happy, most happy, is your companion 
Casearius, who lives with you under the same roof, and who 
can converse with you on the most excellent topics during 
dinner, or supper, or on your walks. But although we are so 
far apart in the body, yet you have constantly been present 
to my mind, especially when I take your writings in my 
hand, and apply myself to them." In the same letter he 
reports about a philosophical society for the study of 
Spinoza s philosophy, as communicated to de Vries and 
others in manuscript form, and asks for further elucidation 
of some difficult points. The sincerity and extent of his 
devotion was further shown by his offer of a gift of 2000 
florins to Spinoza, which was, however, declined. Later on, 
Simon de Vries, whose health was even less satisfactory 
than Spinoza s, feeling that his end was drawing nigh, 
desired to make Spinoza his heir. Again the philosopher 
dissuaded him, urging the prior claims of the testator s own 
kindred. On the death of Simon de Vries his brother 


offered to Spinoza an annuity of 500 florins, but Spinoza 
declined to take more than 300 florins. 

Jan Rieuwertsz was a bookseller at Amsterdam, and some 
fifteen years older than Spinoza. He was a Collegiant, 
and very liberal in his views. His shop enjoyed the evil 
reputation of being the seat of scoffers. He published and 
stocked the works of many authors of unorthodox repute, 
including those of Descartes, Balling, Jelles, and Spinoza. 
His son also was a devoted admirer of Spinoza. 

Such were some of the men with whom Spinoza stood in 
friendly relationship during his last years in Amsterdam. 
Further details are wanting. Possibly he had given private 
tuition to Simon de Vries (who speaks of him as " master "), 
Balling, and others ; or he may have held some kind of 
seminar or class for the informal discussion of religious and 
philosophical questions. If so, the substance of his Meta 
physical Thoughts (which were subsequently appended to his 
version of Descartes Principia) and of his Short Treatise on 
God, Man and his Well-being must have been elaborated 
during these years, and for these purposes. This would also 
account for the continuation or revival of similar meetings 
for the discussion of Spinoza s views, as reported in the 
letter of Simon de Vries. 

Little as is known of these years, there can be no doubt 
that they were years of storm and stress in the mental history 
of Spinoza. This much may be gathered from the impres 
sive pages with which he opens his Treatise on the Improve 
ment of the Understanding. 

" After experience had taught me [so he writes] that all things 
which are ordinarily encountered in common life are vain and 
futile, and when I saw that all things which occasioned me any 
anxiety or fear had in themselves nothing of good or evil, except 
in so far as the mind was moved by them ; I at length determined to 
inquire if there were anything which was a true good capable of im 
parting itself, and by which alone the mind could be affected to the 


exclusion of all else ; whether, indeed, anything existed by the dis 
covery and acquisition of which I might have continuous and 
supreme joy to all eternity, I say that / at length determined : for 
at first sight it seemed unwise to be willing to let go something 
certain for something that was yet uncertain. I saw, forsooth, the 
advantages which are derived from honour and riches, and that I 
should be obliged to abstain from the quest of these if I wished 
to give serious application to something different and new : and if, 
perchance, supreme happiness should lie in them, I saw clearly that 
I should have to do without it ; but if, on the other hand, it did 
not lie in them, and I applied myself only to them, then I should 
also have to go without the highest happiness. I, therefore, re 
volved in my mind whether, perchance, it would not be possible to 
arrive at the new plan of life, or, at least, some certainty about it, 
without any change in the order and usual plan of my life, a thing 
which I have often attempted in vain. Now the things which one 
mostly meets with in life, and which, so far as one may gather from 
their actions, men esteem as the highest good, are reducible to 
these three, namely, riches, honour, and pleasure. By these three 
the mind is so distracted that it can scarcely think of any other 
good. . . . When, therefore, I saw that all these things stood in 
the way of my applying myself to any new plan of life; in fact, 
that they were so opposed to it that one must necessarily abstain 
either from the one or from the other, I was forced to inquire which 
would be the more useful to me; for, as I have already said, I 
seemed to be willing to let go a sure good for something uncertain. 
But after brooding a little over this subject I found, in the first 
place, that if I let go those things and devoted myself to the new 
plan of life I should be letting go a good uncertain by its very 
nature ... for one which was uncertain, not in its nature . . . 
but only as regards its attainment. After unremitting reflection I 
came to see that, if I could only make up my mind thoroughly, 
then I should give up sure evils for a sure good. . . . Not with 
out reason did I use the words, if I could only make up my mind 
thoroughly. For although I saw this so clearly in my mind, yet I 
could not thus put aside all avarice, sensuous pleasure, and the desire 
for fame. This one thing I saw, that so long as my mind revolved 
these thoughts, so long, did it turn away from those things, and 
consixjer seripusly the new plan of life. This was .a great comfort 


to me. . . . And although at first these periods were rare and 
only of very brief duration, yet as the true good gradually became 
better known to me so these periods grew more frequent and 

The above " confession" was written by Spinoza in 1661. 
The inner struggle between worldly allurements and the 
beck of the spirit was over then. Indeed already his earlier 
work, the Short Treatise, which was completed in 1660, bears 
unmistakable evidence of the peace which crowned that 
inward conflict. This conflict must therefore be referred 
to the years immediately preceding 1660. His last years in 
Amsterdam, when he made his first acquaintance with real 
life and the struggle for existence, must have brought home 
to him often enough the desirableness of worldly goods, 
and the hardships of poverty and obscurity. After all, he 
was human, and he could scarcely escape the common lot 
of mortals the conflict between the two souls which dwell 
in mortal breast. But Spinoza was not given to speak about 
himself. He lifts but a corner of the veil, behind which we 
may well conjecture scenes of storm and stress during the 
period intervening between his excommunication in 1656 
and his departure from Amsterdam in 1660. Early in that 
year, weary of the whir and the worldliness of that com 
mercial centre, he went to dwell among unworldly folk with 
old-world virtues in an out-of-the-world village Rijnsburg. 
He withdrew from the madding crowd, but not in disgust 
or misanthropy. He had caught a glimpse of the highest 
good of man, and he wanted to strengthen his hold thereon 
under more favourable conditions. He had discovered that 
the sorrows of man "arise from the love of the transient," 
while "love for an object eternal and infinite feeds the 
mind with unmixed joy, free from all sorrow." 



Rijnsburg is a village some six or seven miles north-west 
of Leyden. Its modest cottages, narrow lanes, quiet water 
ways, and quaint medieval church still present an old-world 
appearance very much as in the days of Spinoza except, 
of course, for the clumsy, though convenient, steam-trams 
which pass by on their way to and from Leyden and 
Katwijk or Noordwijk-aan-Zee. Within easy walking dis 
tance from it, on the road to Leyden, is Endgeest, a nice 
rural little place where Descartes once stayed for a number 
of years, but now noted chiefly for its lunatic asylum. 

During the seventeenth century Rijnsburg was the head 
quarters of the Collegiants. This sect, whose origin has 
already been explained above, repudiated infant baptism, 
and insisted on adult baptism by immersion. And Rijnsburg, 
on the old Rhein, was their place of baptism. That was the 
reason why the Collegiants were also commonly called the 
" Rijnsburgers." Now Spinoza, as we have seen, numbered 
several Collegiants among his friends, and it was probably 
on the suggestion of one of his Collegiant friends that he 
went to live there. At all events, early in the year 1660 he 
seems to have taken up his quarters there, probably with a 
surgeon of the name Hermann Homan, in a newly built 
little cottage standing in a narrow lane, which has since 
then come to be known as Spinoza Lane. Some time after 
wards, apparently, the landlord s pious humanitarianism led 
him to inscribe or to have inscribed on a stone in the cottage 
wall the well-meant message expressed in the concluding 
stanza of Kamphuyzen s May Morning : 

" Alas ! if all men would be wise, 

And would be good as well, 
The Earth would be a Paradise, 
Now it is mostly Hell." 


And it was by this inscription that, on the authority of an 
old tradition, the cottage has been identified. It is still in 
existence, and is still surrounded by open fields rich in 
garden produce and bulbs. Restored, and equipped with 
all that diligent search could find and that money could 
procure in the way of things interesting to students of 
Spinoza, the cottage is now known as the Spinoza-huis or 
Spinoza Museum, and serves as a kind of shrine sacred to 
the memory of the philosopher, and many pilgrims bend 
their footsteps there to pay homage to a profound mind and 
lofty character, and feel something of his calm of mind in 
that haunt of ancient peace. 

One reason which prompted Spinoza to seek a quiet 
retreat was probably the desire to write down his thoughts 
in some systematic form. Dissatisfied with the Scholastic 
philosophy still in vogue then, he and his friends had turned 
eagerly to the writings of Descartes. The opposition of the 
strict Calvinists to the Cartesian philosophy rather tended to 
recommend it to the Remonstrants (including the Colle- 
giants), and, indeed, to all who had suffered from, or were 
opposed to, the religious intolerance of the dominant 
Reformed Church. The cry for impartiality and an open 
mind in the interpretation of Scripture was felt to have a 
certain kinship with the Cartesian method of philosophising, 
his preliminary doubt of whatever could be reasonably 
disputed. Hence there was a gradual coalition between 
liberal religion and Cartesian philosophy. Spinoza s friends 
were mostly Cartesians, and remained such to the end. 
Whether Spinoza himself was ever a thoroughgoing Cartesian 
is not known. That Descartes writings exercised a very 
potent influence on Spinoza there is no doubt what 
ever. By 1660, however, Spinoza had already outgrown the 
fundamentals of Cartesian Metaphysics, though he still con 
tinued to follow Descartes in his Physics. Now we have 
already remarked that, during his last years in Amsterdam, 


Spinoza seems to have acted as teacher or leader of a small 
philosophical circle. Its members, including Spinoza him 
self, were primarily interested in religious questions at first. 
They approached philosophy from the side of religion, and 
only in so far as religious problems led up to philosophical 
considerations. God and His attributes, Nature and Crea 
tion, Man and his Well-being, the nature of the Human 
Mind and the Immortality of the Soul these were the topics 
which chiefly interested them, and on which, we may assume, 
Spinoza had accumulated various notes for those informal 
talks with them. These notes he wanted to elaborate and 
to systematise. This was the first task which occupied him 
at Rijnsburg, and it resulted in the Short Treatise on God, 
Man and his Well-being. But he continued to keep in 
touch with his Amsterdam friends and sent them the parts of 
the manuscript as he completed them. Though Cartesian in 
appearance, and partly also in substance, the Short Treatise, 
Spinoza s very first philosophical essay, already marks a 
definite departure from the philosophy of Descartes, in its 
identification of God with Nature, and its consequent 
determinism and naturalism. Spinoza himself fully realised 
the extent of his deviation from Descartes, and the 
novelty of his views even as compared with the novelties 
of Cartesianism, which was at that time " the new philo 
sophy " par excellence. So he begged his friends not to 
be impatient with his novel views, but to consider them 
carefully, remembering that "a thing does not therefore 
cease to be true because it is not accepted by many." 
He also realised that some of these views were liable to 
prove rather dangerous to minds more eager for novelty 
than for truth. He was therefore careful about the kind 
of people to whom he communicated his views, and also 
begged his trusted friends to be careful likewise. Caution 
was also necessary on account of the unremitting vigilance 
of heretic-hunters. 

[Conclusion of Spinoza s letter to Oldenburg. October 1661. S p. cxxiii.] 


"As the character of the age in which we live [Spinoza adds] is 
not unknown to you, I would beg of you most earnestly to be very 
careful about the communication of these things to others. I do 
not want to say that you should absolutely keep them to yourselves, 
but only that if ever you wish to communicate them to others, then 
you shall have no other object in view except only the happiness of 
your neighbour ; being at the same time clearly assured that the 
reward of your labour will not disappoint you therein." 

Having finished the first draft of his Short Treatise 
Spinoza felt that he had attacked all the great problems of 
religion and of philosophy, without any preliminary account 
of the requirements of philosophic method, without any 
adequate justification of his own mode of treatment. To 
this problem, accordingly, he turned his attention next, 
and began his Treatise on the Improvement of the Under 
standing. In a letter dated October 1661, in reply to some 
questions of Henry Oldenburg, Spinoza states that he had 
written a complete little treatise on the origin of things, and 
their relation to the first cause, and also on the improvement 
of the understanding, and that he was actually busy just 
then copying and correcting it. It would appear from this 
that Spinoza s intention at that time may have been to 
combine the Short Treatise and the Treatise on the Improve 
ment of the Understanding. What actually happened, how 
ever, is not quite certain. The editors of Spinoza s 
posthumous works only had a fragment of the Treatise on 
the Improvement of the Understanding, and apparently 
nothing of the Short Treatise, of which we only possess at 
present two Dutch versions, discovered about 1860. The 
editors of the Opera Posthuma say that the Treatise on the 
Improvement of the Understanding was one of Spinoza s 
earliest works, and that he had never finished it, but they 
appear to be uncertain whether it was only want of time or 
the inherent difficulties of the subject which prevented him 
from finishing it. 


In the meantime Spinoza seems to have acquired some 
reputation not only with the Rijnsburgers but even among 
some of the professors at Leyden. This may have been due 
to his participation in the Collegiant Conferences held at 
Rijnsburg. These conferences for the discussion of religious 
questions were open to all who cared to come. And some 
of the students from the neighbouring University at Leyden 
made a practice of attending these meetings and taking 
part in the debates. Some of them very likely came there 
for fun, though others, no doubt, had worthier motives. 
It was in this way that Spinoza came into touch with, 
among others, Johannes Casearius and the brothers 
Adriaan and Johannes Koerbagh, of whom more will be 
said anon. And in this way also Spinoza s name and 
history may have become known to some of the Leyden 
professors, among them Johannes Coccejus, professor of 
theology, famous as the author of the first standard Hebrew 
dictionary, and even more so as the author of the dictum 
that an interpreter of the Scriptures should approach his 
task with a mind free from all dogmatic prejudices the 
dictum which helped to bring about a kind of alliance 
between the Remonstrants and the Cartesians, to which 
reference has already been made. Now Coccejus was a 
native of Bremen, and when his countryman Henry 
Oldenburg visited Leyden in 1661, eager as usual to make 
the acquaintance of everybody who was remarkable in 
any way, Coccejus may have suggested to him a visit to 
Spinoza. Possibly Oldenburg had also heard something 
about Spinoza from Huygens, who was in correspondence 
with the English scientists among whom Oldenburg had 
moved, had actually visited London that very year, and 
may have met Oldenburg at one of the meetings of the 
" Gresham College," which was soon to blossom into the 
" Royal Society." At all events, in July 1661 Oldenburg 
visited Spinoza in Rijnsburg. 


Henry Oldenburg, as already remarked, was a native of 
Bremen, where he was born about 1620. During the war 
between England and Holland which followed Cromwell s 
enforcement of the Navigation Act, in 1651, the shipowners 
of Bremen seem to have suffered. It was therefore decided 
to send an envoy to make representations to Cromwell con 
cerning the neutrality of Bremen. Accordingly in 1653 
Henry Oldenburg was entrusted with this diplomatic mis 
sion, which brought him into touch with Milton, who was 
then Latin Secretary to the Council, and other eminent 
Englishmen of the time. For some reason he remained in 
England after the conclusion of his mission, staying in 
Oxford in 1656, and acting as private tutor to various young 
gentlemen, including Boyle s nephew, Richard Jones, with 
whom he travelled in France, Germany, and Italy, during 
the years 1657-1660, attending the most important academies 
of science, and becoming acquainted with the great lights 
of the scientific world. During his stay in Oxford, Olden 
burg had been associated with the leading spirits of the 
" Invisible College," a society for the discussion of scientific 
problems. There was a similar society in London, the 
"Gresham College." With the Restoration of Charles II., 
in 1660, it was decided to apply for a Charter for the 
formation of a " Royal Society " to carry on the work of 
these two societies, and an acting secretary was required to 
undertake the work of organisation, &c. Just then Olden 
burg returned from his continental tour, and his wide 
reading and extensive knowledge of men and matters 
marked him out as just the man for the post, for which he 
was accordingly nominated. In the following year, 1661, 
Oldenburg had occasion to visit his native town, Bremen, 
and on his return journey via Holland, he visited Leyden 
(among other places), and thence Rijnsburg, where, as 
already mentioned, he had a long interview with Spinoza. 
The subject discussed on that occasion and the impres- 


sion which Spinoza made on Oldenburg may be gathered 
from the following letter which Oldenburg wrote to Spinoza 
immediately after his return to London, in August 1661. 
" It was with such reluctance [he writes] that I tore myself 
away from your side, when I recently visited you in your 
retreat at Rijnsburg, that no sooner am I back in England 
than I already try to join you again, at least as far as this 
can be effected by means of correspondence. Solid learn 
ing combined with kindliness and refinement (wherewith 
Nature and Study have most richly endowed you) have 
such an attraction that they win the love of all noble and 
liberally educated men. Let us, therefore, most excellent 
sir, give each other the right hand of unfeigned friendship, 
and cultivate it diligently by every kind of attention and 
service. Whatever service my humble powers can render, 
consider as yours. And permit me to claim a part of those 
intellectual gifts which you possess, if I may do so without 
detriment to you. Our conversation at Rijnsburg turned 
on God, infinite Extension and Thought, on the difference 
and the agreement between these attributes, on the nature 
of the union of the human soul with the body ; and further, 
on the Principles of the Cartesian and the Baconian Philo 
sophy. But as we then discussed themes of such moment 
only at a distance, as it were, and cursorily, and as all those 
things have since then been lying heavily on my mind, I 
now venture to claim the right of our new friendship to ask 
you affectionately to explain to me somewhat more fully 
your views on the above-mentioned subjects, and not to 
mind enlightening me, more especially on these two points, 
namely, first, what do you consider to be the true distinc 
tion between Extension and Thought ; secondly, what 
defects do you observe in the Philosophy of Descartes and 
of Bacon, and how, do you think, might they be eliminated, 
and replaced by something more sound ? The more freely 
you write to me about these and the like, the more closely 


will you bind me to yourself, and the greater will be my 
obligation to render similar services, if at all possible." 
The letter concludes with a promise to send Spinoza a 
volume of scientific essays by Robert Boyle, between whom 
and Spinoza, Oldenburg subsequently acted as a kind of 

It is not at all clear what kind of an introduction Olden 
burg had to Spinoza, or, indeed, whether he had any 
introduction at all. And Spinoza was neither so loquacious 
nor so indiscreet as to unburden his whole mind to a 
stranger. But he had evidently treated Oldenburg un 
grudgingly and with his wonted courtesy, and Oldenburg s 
letter is certainly very remarkable for its tone of generous 
appreciation all the more remarkable because he was con 
siderably older than Spinoza, and had been befriended by 
so many of the intellectual giants of that period, while 
Spinoza was apparently an obscure outcast. 

It is noteworthy that Spinoza s conversation with Olden 
burg turned on Bacon and Descartes. This is not surprising, 
for Spinoza was at that time (1661) very much occupied 
with the question of philosophical method, and the two 
alternatives which he must have been carefully weighing 
against each other were the empirical, inductive method of 
Bacon, and the deductive, geometric method of Descartes. 
This was the very problem with which he was then grap 
pling in his Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding, 
as we gather from his subsequent reply to Oldenburg, which 
has already been cited above. Spinoza ultimately sided with 
Descartes, in favour of the geometric method. He felt 
that the deductive method was the right one in philosophy, 
and that the best form of exposition was that exemplified in 
Euclid s geometry. This had already been urged, and, to 
some extent, also illustrated by Descartes ; and Spinoza 
also now tried a similar experiment by casting one of the 
chapters of his Short Treatise into geometric form, consti- 


tuting what is now its First Appendix. Soon afterwards 
he was occupied even more with Descartes, and tried a 
much more extensive experiment in the application of the 
geometric method. 

In 1662, possibly in the winter of 1661-2, Johannes 
Casearius, a student of Theology at the University of 
Leyden, came to stay in Rijnsburg, and lived in the same 
house with Spinoza, who agreed to help him with the study 
of philosophy. Casearius was only about nineteen then, 
apparently rather immature and fickle-minded, more devoted 
to novelty than to truth. He proved to be very trying to 
Spinoza, and caused him some anxiety. Still, Spinoza had 
faith in the youth s good qualities, which only required 
a little time to mature and assert themselves. And the 
subsequent history of Casearius confirmed Spinoza s antici 
pations. In the meantime, however, Spinoza had to be 
cautious in the treatment of his pupil. What Casearius no 
doubt wanted of Spinoza was, that he should expound to 
him the newest philosophy. This generally meant Carte- 
sianism then. Spinoza had something newer than that, and 
Casearius may have got some inkling of this, and came to 
him for that reason. But Spinoza did not think it good for 
one of his youth and temper. He therefore decided to 
teach him the essentials of the scholastic metaphysics as 
then taught at most of the universities, but to combine with 
it a good deal of his own criticism, and also to substitute 
altogether the Cartesian for the older physics. He had 
probably pursued a very similar course with his previous 
pupils in Amsterdam. But being convinced by this time 
that the geometric method was the most persuasive method 
of imparting knowledge, he turned the Second Part and 
a portion of the Third Part of Descartes Principia into 
geometric form. 

In the meanwhile, Spinoza had been growing discontented 
with his Short Treatise. For a time he probably tried to 


bring it into line with the continuous advance of his thought 
by means of modifications and additional notes. Finding, 
however, that he could wield the geometric method of 
exposition so well, he seems to have decided to start 
afresh, and to do for his own philosophy what he had 
already done, in a measure, for the philosophy of Descartes. 
In short, he commenced his Ethics, and early in the follow 
ing year, 1663, a part, if not the whole, of the First Book of 
the Ethics was already in the hands of his Amsterdam 

By that time, however, Spinoza was already preparing to 
leave Rijnsburg. He had been there about three years 
then. Most likely they were his happiest years. They were 
certainly among his most fruitful years. But one of the 
reasons which had brought him there also drove him away 
now. He had come there so as to be able to work quietly, 
undisturbed by friend or foe. And for the first two years 
or so his hopes were realised. But gradually, as his circle 
of friends and acquaintances extended, more and more of 
his time was taken up by them, and taken away from his 
work. He therefore decided to remove from there to 
Voorburg, near the Hague. He left Rijnsburg in April 
1663, but, before going to Voorburg, he wanted to see his 
old friends again, and went accordingly to Amsterdam, 
where he stayed about two months. While on this visit to 
Amsterdam he showed to his friends his Euclidean version 
of Descartes Principia, Part II. Jarig Jelles, Lodewijk 
Meyer, and other Cartesian friends of his thereupon per 
suaded him to do the same with the first part of the Principia. 
He did so in a fortnight, and consented to their publication, 
together with his own Metaphysical Thoughts, on condition 
that Meyer revised the whole work, improving its phrase 
ology where necessary, and adding a preface to explain that 
Spinoza was far from being in entire agreement with the 
Cartesian philosophy, even as thus moulded in the Euclidean 


mould. This was readily done, and the work appeared soon 
afterwards. It was published by Rieuwertsz ; Meyer wrote 
the Preface ; and this was followed by a poem, Ad Librum, 
composed by J[ohannes] B[ouwmeister], M.D., Meyer s 
" oldest and best friend." It was the only book to appear 
in Spinoza s lifetime with his name on it. Spinoza (it 
should be noted at once here) had no delusions about the 
absolute cogency of the geometric method. For in his 
very first publication he expounded and defended more 
geometrico a system of philosophy with which he did not 


In June 1663 Spinoza arrived in Voorburg and took up 
his lodgings in the Kerklaan, at the house of a painter whose 
name was Daniel Tydemann. Though little more than half 
an hour s walk from the Hague, the village of Voorburg was 
at that time almost as isolated as Rijnsburg, and there were 
times when it took Spinoza a week and more to get a letter 
to or from the Hague. During the next two years or so he 
was busily at work on his Ethics. But he found time also to 
keep up a fairly extensive correspondence with old friends, 
to make new friends, and to pay occasional visits to other 
towns. In the winter of 1663-4 ne returned to Rijnsburg for 
about two months ; in the following winter (1664-5) he seems 
to have visited either the sister or the brother of Simon de 
Vries, at Schiedam ; in the following April (i665)he visited his 
old friends in Amsterdam ; he also made frequent excursions 
to the Hague, where he was wont to stay with a certain Mesach 
Tydemann, possibly a brother of his Voorburg landlord. 

If Spinoza found Voorburg rather lonely at first, conditions 
changed soon enough, so that he complained that he was 
scarcely his own master, so much of his time was taken up 


by callers. Of the people with whom he associated more or 
less during his stay in Voorburg the most interesting were 
Vossius the philologist, subsequently Canon of Windsor 
(who probably consulted Spinoza on subjects relating to the 
Hebrew language and literature, much as his father, Gerhard 
Vossius, used to consult Manasseh ben Israel), Christian 
Huygens, Hudde, van Beuningen, and Jan de Witt. 

Christian Huygens, the discoverer of Saturn s rings, inven 
tor of the pendulum clock, and originator of the undulatory 
theory of light, was living within easy walking distance of 
Spinoza during the years 1664-6, and the two saw a good 
deal of one another during that period. Both of them were 
keenly interested in the making and improvement of lenses, 
and this common interest formed their chief or only bond. 
In character the two men were very unlike. Spinoza was 
generous and without reserve in imparting whatever know 
ledge he possessed and which might be of service to others ; 
Huygens, on the other hand, was stinting and ever on his 
guard lest his trade secrets should leak out. In his letters 
to his brothers, Huygens refers to Spinoza as I Israelite, le 
Juif de Voorburg, or noire Juif, asks his brother to inform 
him of Spinoza s doings, but urges him to keep from him a 
certain optical secret lest Hudde and others should get to 
hear of it through him. To strangers, no doubt, he spoke 
with greater respect of Spinoza. To Tschirnhaus, for 
instance, he remarked some years later (1675) that he had a 
great regard for Spinoza. 

It was probably through Huygens that Spinoza got to 
know Johan Hudde. Hudde was Burgomaster of Amster 
dam, and a member of the States of Holland, in which 
capacity he had frequent occasion to visit the Hague, which 
was the seat of government. He was, moreover, a man of 
a scientific bent of mind, which prompted him to take up 
the art of grinding lenses, which in those days seems to have 
been a fashionable hobby, not unlike present-day photo- 


graphy. This interest in lenses may have led to his seeking 
and making the acquaintance of Huygens, and ; through him, 
of Spinoza. We have just seen how anxious Christian 
Huygens was lest Hudde should learn from Spinoza more 
than Huygens cared that he should know. Hudde, more 
over, unlike Huygens, was also keenly interested in problems 
of religious philosophy, and we still have three letters which 
Spinoza addressed to him on the subject of God s unity. 
Hudde very likely introduced Spinoza to some of his friends 
in the political sphere, and was, no doubt, instrumental in 
procuring for Spinoza that protection and patronage the 
desire for which was possibly one of the chief reasons why 
Spinoza had come to live near the Hague. 

When Spinoza gave his consent to the publication of his 
version of Descartes Principia, he had a special object in 
view. This object he explained clearly in his letter to Olden 
burg, in the latter part of July 1663. " It may be [he writes] 
that on this occasion some of those who occupy the highest 
posts in my fatherland may be found desirous of seeing my 
other writings, which I do acknowledge as expressing my 
views ; they will then enable me to publish them without any 
risk of violating the civil law. Should this, indeed, occur, 
then I shall, no doubt, publish something immediately; but 
if not, then I will rather be silent than obtrude my opinions 
on men against the wishes of my country, and so incur their 
hostility." What exactly Spinoza meant to publish imme 
diately is not quite certain possibly the Short Treatise, 
more likely the first book of his Ethics, or the whole of it 
which he may have hoped to complete in the near future. 

At all events it is clear that Spinoza was anxious to enlist 
the sympathy of some of those who held the reins of 
government, and Hudde was just the man to help him. He 
probably introduced him to Coenraad van Beuningen, an 
ex- Burgomaster of Amsterdam, and sometime diplomatic 
envoy of the Netherlands at the Courts of France and 


Sweden. Van Beuningen was friendly towards the Jews, and 
when Louis XIV. remarked to him that it was scandalous 
that the Dutch should tolerate the Jews, he replied : " Is 
not the fact that God himself has not destroyed them a proof 
that He wants them to be tolerated in the world ? And 
since all other countries expel them, and yet they must 
live somewhere, it cannot be ungodly that Amsterdam 
at least should receive them." But most important of all 
was Spinoza s introduction to Jan de Witt, the Grand Pen 
sionary of Holland, of whom more will be said presently. 

Spinoza was gradually being drawn into the turbulent 
current of contemporary politics. In the meantime, how 
ever, he was making progress with his Ethics, receiving calls 
from old friends and distinguished strangers, and corre 
sponding with all sorts and conditions. 

Oldenburg s first letter to Spinoza, which was cited above, 
was followed by a cordial and regular correspondence. The 
Royal Society, of which Oldenburg was the acting secretary, 
had (as Spinoza was duly informed) received its royal charter 
from Charles II. in 1662, and was going full sail on its course 
of scientific exploration. Its ambition was nothing less 
than (to use Oldenburg s bold phrase) " to take the whole 
universe to task," and its versatile cosmopolitan secretary 
spared no pains to publish its doings to the world, and to 
gather all the latest scientific news and gossip from the four 
corners of the earth. Spinoza thus heard from Oldenburg all 
that was done in England for the advancement of science, 
also frequent kind messages from Robert Boyle, who, how 
ever, never condescended to write himself to the "odd 
philosopher," though he sent him his writings and invited 
his criticisms, and replied to them through Oldenburg. 
Spinoza also sent what news he could, especially about 
Huygens. Occasionally we hear echoes of contemporary 
events in other than purely scientific spheres. Oldenburg 
complains about the Plague which was raging in London 


during 1665, and seriously hindered the work of the Royal 
Society. He moralises on the inhumanity of warfare, 
d propos of the war that was being waged between England 
and Holland in the same year. And he wants to know what 
Spinoza and also the Jews of Amsterdam think of the 
<( rumour which is on everybody s lips here that the Jews 
are about to return to Palestine." This had reference to 
the escapades of the impostor Sabbatai Zevi, who began 
as a pseudo-Messiah and ended as an apostate, but whose 
pretences, aided by the incessant sufferings of the Jews, 
deceived for a time even the Amsterdam Jews, whose opinion 
Oldenburg was curious to know prayers being offered up 
in the Amsterdam Synagogue for "the King Messiah," and 
some new prayer-books being dated " the year one of the 
Messiah " ! It would be interesting to know what Spinoza 
thought about this tragi-comedy. But just at this point the 
correspondence between Spinoza and Oldenburg comes to 
an abrupt end. The next letter between them, at least of 
those which are still extant, was written some ten years later. 
Possibly there were other letters, or it may be that the Great 
Fire of London in 1666 and the continued war between 
England and Holland (in which Bremen, Oldenburg s native 
city, sided with England) made further correspondence 
impracticable for a time ; while in 1667 Oldenburg was 
actually imprisoned in the Tower of London, charged with 
"dangerous plans and practices," the vagueness of which 
suggests that it was simply his vast foreign correspondence 
that had made him an object of suspicion to a king who 
was too much of an adept at intrigue not to suspect every 
body, and to a government which had no appreciation of 
a man who had "taken to task the whole universe." 
Oldenburg was eventually released ; but his sad experiences 
had made him nervous and circumspect, as we shall see. 

Among other correspondence, that with William van 
Blyenbergh is noteworthy at once as a study in cross-pur- 


poses, when people argue from totally different standpoints, 
and also as illustrating the patience of Spinoza. Blyen 
bergh, a merchant of Dordrecht, had read Spinoza s version 
of Descartes Principia several times with pleasure and 
profit, as he informed Spinoza. But finding certain diffi 
culties in that book he ventured to ask Spinoza (in a letter 
dated December 1664) for further explanations, assuring 
him, at the same time, that his questions were prompted by 
no other motive than the desire for truth, as he was not 
dependent on any profession, supporting himself by honest 
merchandise, and simply devoting his leisure to problems 
of religious philosophy. Spinoza thought that here was a 
man after his own heart, and gladly hastened to deal with 
his difficulties. These difficulties turned chiefly on the 
problem of evil God s responsibility for the existence of 
evil, and the apparent reduction of good and evil to the 
same moral level, on the views of Spinoza. In the course 
of his lengthy and rather garrulous epistles Blyenbergh made 
it quite clear that he followed both Reason and Revelation, 
but that whenever these conflicted then the Scriptures had 
precedence over Reason. From such a standpoint, of 
course, the correspondence was bound to be futile from the 
first, but Spinoza dealt most patiently and gently with 
Blyenbergh, as long as human patience could endure it, 
and brought the correspondence to a close in June 1665. 
In due course Blyenbergh requited Spinoza s long suffering 
by writing " refutations " of his Tractates Theologico-Politicus 
and his Ethica, for the deep thoughts of which he could 
design no holier origin than Hell ! 

From one of Spinoza s letters, written in June 1665, it 
appears that, by that time, his Ethics had advanced as far as 
the end of what is now the fourth book, and that Spinoza 
expected to finish it shortly. In a letter, however, which 
Oldenburg wrote to Spinoza in September of the same year 
he remarks jestingly : " I see that you are not so much 


philosophising as, if one may say so, theologising ; since your 
thoughts are turning to angels, prophecy, and miracles." 
Evidently Spinoza had informed him that he was already 
at work on what was to be the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. 
And in his reply to Oldenburg s letter, Spinoza writes (Sep 
tember or October 1665) quite explicitly that he is writing a 
Treatise on the Scriptures. The Ethica, then, must have 
been put aside suddenly, just as it was nearing completion, 
arid for the next four years or so we find Spinoza hard at 
work on his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. This certainly 
seems strange. What was the cause of this sudden change 
in the direction of his thoughts ? 

In his letter to Oldenburg, Spinoza states three reasons 
which prompted him to take up the new Treatise. In the 
first place, he wanted to deal with the theologians, whose 
prejudices were the chief obstacle which prevented people 
from becoming philosophical. Spinoza intended to expose 
these prejudices, and even hoped to convert some of the 
more intelligent divines. In the second place, he wanted to 
refute the charge of atheism which was constantly brought 
against him. In the third place, he wanted to defend by 
every means in his power freedom of thought and speech 
from the tyranny and presumption of the clergy, who were 
doing their utmost to suppress it. To appreciate these 
reasons adequately it is necessary to make a brief survey of 
the historical circumstances which seemed to call for such 
a book as the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, the need for 
which must evidently have appeared very urgent to Spinoza 
to have made him put aside his great work, just as it was 
nearing completion, in order to attack these mixed problems 
of theology and politics. 

Spinoza, we have seen, was anxious to win the favour of 
the men who were in power, so that he might publish his 
philosophy without let or hindrance. Such patronage was 
indispensable in those days, for the sake of both the thinker 


and his thoughts. Descartes, for instance, did not feel safe, 
notwithstanding his most ceremonious bows to the Church ; 
and even in the Netherlands, where there was neither 
occasion nor inclination to study the susceptibilities of the 
holy Roman Church, the Cartesian philosophy met with 
considerable clerical resistance, and was repeatedly forbidden 
to be taught at the Universities. Although the civil authori 
ties were generally inclined to be liberal, yet the Calvinist 
or Reformed Clergy often had sufficient power to cause the 
confiscation and destruction of books to which they took 
exception, and the authors of such books were occasionally 
made to surfer both in purse and in person. Spinoza s desire 
to win the favour and protection of those in power was 
therefore natural enough. And he succeeded almost better 
than he could have expected. For he enlisted the sympathy 
of no less a personage than the Grand Pensionary himself 
Jan de Witt. His very success, however, in a way defeated his 
primary object, by diverting his attention from purely philo 
sophical problems. How this happened will soon be evident. 
Reference has already been made to the struggle between 
the Remonstrants and the contra-Remonstrants, and the 
tragic fate of the Remonstrant leader, Barneveldt, in 1619. 
That conflict was by no means a purely religious conflict. 
Church and State, Religion and Politics, if not quite so in 
timately united as elsewhere, were anything but completely 
divorced even in the Netherlands. Politically that conflict 
was one between the principle of autonomy of each of the 
United Provinces, and especially of Holland, and the prin 
ciple of the predominance of the House of Orange. In 
that early conflict, Barneveldt stood for the former principle, 
Maurice, the Stadtholder (or so-called " Lieutenant," but 
virtual or would-be monarch), for the latter. Though 
Barneveldt came to an end in 1619, the conflict did 
not ; it only required a suitable opportunity tc break 
out afresh. In 1650, the Stadtholder y William II., chagrined 


because of the independent attitude of Amsterdam, arrested 
its five chief burghers, among them Jacob de Witt. They 
were released soon afterwards and deprived of their office. 
But their bitter resentment may be gauged by the fact that, 
on the death of William II., in 1651, de Witt had a medal 
struck representing William II. lying dead on the ground, 
with the motto, Liberty for ever ! The years which followed 
were years of great anxiety for the Netherlands. Cromwell, 
prompted by the Utopian idea of a European Protestant 
Coalition, proposed to the States-General of the Netherlands 
that they should suffer themselves to be absorbed by Eng 
land. When this was declined, he brought the " Naviga 
tion Act " into operation with a view to crippling the Dutch 
shipping trade. War followed. But negotiations were 
soon reopened, and peace was concluded in 1654. It was 
during these troubles that Jan de Witt, the brilliant son of 
Jacob de Witt, got and used his opportunity. In 1653 he 
had been elected Grand Pensionary of Holland, and it was 
largely through his skill that the peace negotiations with 
England came to a successful issue in the following year. 
Unfortunately for de Witt, Cromwell, in his anxiety to keep 
Charles II. at a safe distance, stipulated as one of the con 
ditions of peace that the young Prince of Orange (son of 
William II., and nephew of Charles II.) should be made in 
eligible for the posts of Stadtholder and Captain-General of 
the Netherlands forces. And, knowing that most of the 
United Provinces would strongly resent the very sugges 
tion of such a condition, de Witt had to persuade the 
Hollanders to bind themselves at least to such a secret 
" Act of Seclusion." This, of course, was bound to inten 
sify the opposition between the de Witts and the House of 
Orange, and to lead to a fresh conflict between the Repub 
lican and the Monarchist parties in the Netherlands. The 
House of Orange, largely owing to its early alliance (in 
the days of Barneveldt) with the orthodox majority, eventu- 


ally realised their monarchical ambitions, and the de Witts, 
whose broad tolerance and republican zeal made them more 
like William the Silent than were his own descendants, were 
destined to meet with a tragic end. But all that was still to 
come. At the time with which we are at present concerned 
Jan de Witt was still the Grand Pensionary of Holland, and 
virtually the head of the United Provinces. Still, he had 
his enemies. His very tolerance gained for him the secret 
opposition of the Reformed Clergy, who were bent on 
Calvinising everybody and everything. And the Orange 
party were assiduous in cultivating the friendship of the 
Calvinists. The one radical safeguard for the maintenance 
of the Republic, as de Witt must have seen, lay in widen 
ing the outlook of its citizens, so that politics might be 
purged of religious animosities, and people might live at 
peace with each other, and co-operate in all national enter 
prises, without regard to their private views on matters 
which did not affect their conduct as citizens. In 1665, 
during the wars with England and Sweden, when the Dutch 
were so hard pressed that they had to employ French troops, 
the voice of discontent made itself heard in various quarters, 
and Calvinist prophets made capital out of these tem 
porary trials by proclaiming them to be visitations sent 
from heaven in punishment of the godlessness of the 
country s rulers, and clamoured that the young Prince of 
Orange should be set in supreme authority to make the 
country more godly. " Moses and Aaron, the Sword and 
the Word," they cried, must always go hand in hand. 

Already before this, Jan de Witt seems to have urged or 
encouraged various writers, who shared his views, to use 
their pen in support of his policy of tolerance, in short, in 
support of the separation between Church and State. One 
such book was written by his own nephew and namesake, 
others were written by Dr. Lodewijk Meyer and other 
members of the Spinoza circle, and Jan de Witt himself is 


said to have written or contributed some chapters to such a 
political pamphlet. It seems natural enough, therefore, that at 
such a critical period Spinoza, the " good republican," should 
layaside his more speculative //MOZ in order to playhis part in 
the warfare against bigotryand intolerance. He would expose 
the prejudices, presumption, and the lust for power of the 
clerical party. But it was idle simply to add one more poli 
tical pamphlet to the multitude in which the principle of 
freedom of thought and speech had already been ably de 
fended on general philosophical and humanitarian grounds. 
The zealots were deaf and blind to such arguments. To them 
philosophy meant heresy, and humanism meant atheism. 
The citadel of the clerics was the Bible. From it they 
drew all their arguments with which they so often 
silenced people, even when they failed to convince them. 
Spinoza resolved to turn his attention to the citadel itself, 
leaving mere skirmishes to others. He would show that the 
very Bible on which these presumptuous theologians based 
their whole case did not bear them out at all, that they were 
simply ignorant of these very Scriptures, and that they used 
religion and the Bible merely as a cloak for their own im 
pudent lust for power over others. Such a work required 
vast and varied learning and insight but Spinoza (and at 
that time perhaps he alone) had them in an eminent degree. 
Andit required time perhaps more than Spinoza anticipated. 
But Spinoza grudged neither time nor effort, and for the next 
four years he was deeply engrossed in theological and political 
studies, which resulted in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. 
Interfused with this wider, grander motive there was yet 
another, a private or personal motive. He desired to show 
(as he wrote to Oldenburg in the autumn of 1665) that he was 
not an atheist, as was commonly supposed. By the time 
Spinoza finished his treatise he had probably forgotten all 
about this private aim. If he was really still anxious to 
convert public opinion about himself, he could scarcely hope 


to do so by publishing his treatise anonymously, as he did 
in 1670. The fact is that although his personal experiences 
added zest to his enterprise in 1665, they gradually sank 
into the background as he proceeded with his work. But in 
any case it is interesting to ask what these personal expe 
riences were. One naturally thinks, at first, of his excom 
munication in 1656. But that was an old story already, and 
Spinoza was at that time hardly concerned much, if at all, 
about the good opinion of the Amsterdam Jews. It will be 
better to turn to Voorburg, and to what happened there in 
1665, for light on this subject. It was not an important 
event to which we are referring, but it is interesting as an 
incident in Spinoza s life, and as typical of the religious 
temper of the time. The pastorate of the Voorburg Church 
happened to be vacant in that year. There were two can 
didates in the field, one liberal, the other orthodox. 
Spinoza s landlord and others petitioned the authorities on 
behalf of the more liberal candidate. Thereupon the ortho 
dox party sent a counter-petition accusing the Tydemann 
party of sheer wickedness, and stating at the same time that 
the Tydemann petition had been " concocted by a certain 
Spinoza, an Amsterdam Jew by birth, who is an atheist, 
scoffs at all religion, and is inflicting harm on the Republic, 
as many learned persons and ministers can attest." Evidently 
Spinoza had an evil repute among the champions of ortho 
doxy in the village, though it is pleasant to think that the 
more liberal section showed sufficient faith in him to enlist 
his sympathy and help even in their religious concerns. 

In the course of the same year Spinoza had a distinguished 
visitor in the person of Field-Marshal Charles de St. Denis, 
Seigneur de St. Evremont, who has left us a pleasant record 
of his impression. " Spinoza [he wrote] was of medium 
height and had pleasant features. His knowledge, his 
modesty, and his unselfishness made all the intellectual 
people in the Hague esteem him and seek his acquaintance." 


Spinoza remained in Voorburg till 1670, but not many 
details have reached us about him even during this period. 
He kept in touch with his Amsterdam friends, to whom he 
sent his manuscript of the Ethics for reading and discussion 
at their philosophical society s gatherings. Some of them, 
notably Simon de Vries, also visited him at Voorburg. That 
Spinoza s health was not robust is evident from his letter to 
one of his medical friends at Amsterdam (A. Koerbagh), to 
whom he incidentally mentions that he had been suffering 
repeatedly from tertian ague, and asks him for some con 
serve of roses. It was about this time apparently that Simon 
de Vries wanted Spinoza to accept from him a gift of two 
thousand florins. Simon de Vries died in 1667, and his 
death must have been felt very deeply by Spinoza. The 
following year, 1668, brought bad news about another of 
his friends. Adriaan Koerbagh, whom Spinoza got to know 
at Rijnsburg, had studied law and medicine at Leyden, 
and was possessed of considerable mental gifts. Spinoza 
liked him, and encouraged him in the study of philosophy, 
and in the above-mentioned letter he actually offered to 
send him the manuscript of the Ethics. But, though clever, 
Koerbagh seems to have had little or no character. At all 
events, early in 1668 he published two works, entitled A 
Garden of Flowers, and Light in Dark Places, in which he 
attacked medicine, morals, and religion in a most wanton 
and shameless manner. He was promptly arrested, and 
though he expressed regret and recanted, yet (as this was 
not his first offence) he was fined 6000 florins and con 
demned to ten years imprisonment with hard labour, to be 
followed by exile. It should be mentioned to his honour that 
he entirely exonerated his brother, who had also been arrested; 
and when Spinoza s name was mentioned in the course of 
the trial he took the entire responsibility upon himself, 
emphatically denying that Spinoza or any one else was in 
any way responsible for what he had written. However 


little there may be to say in Koerbagh s favour, yet 
the punishment was certainly savage. And one of the 
officers of the court had actually urged something much 
more severe, namely, that his fortune should be confiscated, 
his right thumb cut off, his tongue bored through with a 
red-hot iron, and that he should be imprisoned for thirty 
years ! Koerbagh died in prison in the following year. 
The affair must have made a deep impression on Spinoza, 
who had expected much from him, and some of whose 
views Koerbagh had certainly assimilated and spread 
though Spinoza was the last man to condone immorality. 

In the meantime Spinoza had been busy with his Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus, and it was published in 1670. He 
had now been seven years at Voorburg, and he may have 
needed a change, or his friends at the Hague may have 
urged him to come and live among them. At all events 
Spinoza left the village, and went to live in the Hague. 


Spinoza s first lodgings in the Hague were situated on 
the Stille Veerkade, a quiet wharf not far from the Great 
Church of St. James. He lodged and boarded with a 
widow of the name of Van Velen. A single room on the 
second floor served him as bedroom, workroom, and study, 
all in one. Curiously enough, it was in that same room 
that Colerus subsequently wrote one of the earliest bio 
graphies of Spinoza. The house has been identified (it 
bears the number 32) but it has, no doubt, been very much 
altered since those days ; and the Stille Veerkade is no longer 
a wharf, but an ordinary street, the waterway having been 
filled up with earth long since. 

Probably one of the attractions which the Hague had 


for Spinoza was that it brought him into closer touch with 
Jan de Witt. That he had known him for some time already 
seems certain. The political views of the Tractatus Theo- 
logico-Politicus are very like those of the Grand Pensionary, 
and it was under his protection that this treatise had been 
published. When the opportunity arose, de Witt s enemies 
spoke quite openly of the treatise as a wicked instrument 
"forged in hell by a renegade Jew and the devil, and issued 
with the knowledge of Mr. Jan de Witt." It was probably 
also during his stay in Voorburg, and while giving his time 
and energy to the composition of the Tractatus Theologico- 
Politicus, that Spinoza accepted from de Witt an annual 
pension of 200 florins, which was paid even after de 
Witt s death. Once in the Hague, Spinoza must have re 
ceived many a visit from the Grand Pensionary ; and local 
gossip, indeed, still refers to such private visits from him, 
and his usual entrance by the garden door at the back of 
the house. 

The need of protection from high quarters showed itself 
soon enough. Already in the June following the publica 
tion of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, the Church Council 
of Amsterdam had condemned it, and the condemnation of 
other Church Councils followed in rapid succession. The 
book had made a great stir in the learned world, and ran 
through five editions within a comparatively short time. 
But it had stirred a hornei s nest, and, for many years to 
come, theologians and other respectable folks showed their 
orthodoxy by incessant denunciations of that godless 
treatise. The civil authorities were repeatedly approached 
and worried to exercise the arm of the law. But so long as 
de Witt was in power the importunate zealots were success 
fully resisted. Even after de Witt s death there were men, 
like Burgomaster Hudde, who could, for a time, defeat the 
efforts of the clerics. But when William III. found it 
desirable to ingratiate himself with the clergy and the mob, 


and to play to the gallery for a crown, the Tractatus Theo- 
logico-Politicus was strictly prohibited (1674), and other 
measures were contemplated also against the known author 
of the anonymous treatise. 

In May 1671 Spinoza found it necessary to change his 
lodgings. He was in receipt of 300 florins a year from the 
brother of Simon de Vries, and 200 florins a year from de 
Witt, that is, about ^40 a year, besides what little he may 
have been still earning by making lenses. He found that 
he could not afford to continue to pay Mrs. Van Velen s 
charges for board and lodging, and therefore looked out for 
rooms where he might provide his own food, and econo 
mise that way. He accordingly moved into the adjoining 
Paviljoensgmgt, where he rented two small rooms in the 
house of a painter, Hendrik van der Spyck. This house 
has also been identified, and may now be recognised by the 
tablet affixed to the front wall just below the window on 
the second story, where Spinoza s rooms were. Here also 
the "gragt," or waterway, has long since made room for an 
ordinary road. Spinoza lived with the Van der Spycks till 
the end of his life. 

When Spinoza settled in the Hague, after the publication 
of his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, he turned his attention 
once more to his neglected Ethics, which had already seemed 
to be near completion in 1665. The comparatively long 
interval which had elapsed since he had put it aside in order 
to take up the more urgent work had probably brought 
with it the need or the desire for not inconsiderable modi 
fications or elaborations of details, and the Ethics only 
attained to its final form in 1675. In the meantime, how 
ever, Spinoza must have devoted his attention also to other 
things besides the Ethics. While at work on his Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus he had again taken up his Hebrew and 
Biblical studies, and had mastered a mass of political litera 
ture. In that treatise he was chiefly concerned with the 


final results of these studies and reflections, and the different 
departments of thought were necessarily all intermingled. 
It would naturally occur to him, or some of his friends 
would suggest to him, that it was desirable to work out each 
of these subjects independently, and more fully than was 
possible in the above treatise. Spinoza, while completing 
and perfecting his Ethics, would accordingly also be pre 
paring for a scientific treatise on the Hebrew language, for 
a translation of the Old Testament based on such an exposi 
tion of the character of Hebrew, and, lastly, for a separate 
treatise on political theories. By way of a change from 
theology and politics he would also turn again sometimes 
to mathematics and physical science, with a view to supple 
menting his Ethics, some day, by a treatise on natural philo 
sophy. That Spinoza wished to write such a work on natural 
philosophy, and also to give a new exposition of the prin 
ciples of algebra, we know ; but he did not live to realise 
these wishes. His other intentions fared rather better. 
Spinoza did begin a Hebrew Grammar, a Dutch translation 
of the Bible, and a Political Treatise. But he seems to have 
been dissatisfied with his translation, and destroyed what he 
had done. The Hebrew Grammar remained unfinished, so 
did the Political Treatise, which, however, was much nearer 
completion. He has also left an essay On the Rainbow and 
another On the Calculation of Chances. Very likely he did 
not begin to write all or any of these while he was still 
occupied with his Ethics. But he must have been preparing 
for them, and we are told that at times he was so hard at 
work that he did not leave his room for days, nor go out of 
the house for three months at a stretch. 

In the meantime black clouds were gathering in the poli 
tical atmosphere, and a storm was preparing to burst upon 
the heads of the de Witts and their friends. 

Reference has already been made to the war between 
England and Holland in 1665. That war was concluded in 


1667, when England was induced to come to terms partly 
by de Ruyter s daring and successful expedition to Chatham 
(when the sound of Dutch guns was heard in London), but 
even more so by the intervention of Louis XIV., who took 
sides with the Netherlands. Soon afterwards, however, 
Louis XIV. revived his claims to the Spanish Netherlands 
(Belgium) and led an army there. The Dutch grew alarmed. 
It was good to have Louis XIV. for a friend, but it was 
dangerous to have him for a neighbour. Jan de Witt 
accordingly sought for a means of checking French pre 
tensions, and succeeded in doing so by means of the Triple 
Alliance between the Netherlands, England and Sweden. 
This was in 1668. Louis XIV. meant to be revenged on 
de Witt. First he started a tariff war with the Netherlands, 
next he bribed Charles II. (by the Secret Treaty of Dover, 
1671), and, in 1672, England and France declared war 
against the Netherlands, and a French army of 120,000 men 
invaded the totally unprepared United Provinces. For 
some time past there had been a growing conspiracy in 
favour of the young Prince of Orange and against Jan de 
Witt, who had done his utmost to keep him from power, 
especially by engineering the " Perpetual Edict " of 1667, 
which decreed that no Captain-General or Admiral-General 
of the United Provinces could at the same time be Stadt- 
holder of a province. The conspiracy now came to a 
sudden head. There was a cry for the Prince of Orange to 
take the field and deliver the country as his father had 
done. The " Perpetual Edict " was swept aside, and its 
author was not forgotten on the day of reckoning. With 
the country unprepared, and the enemy carrying all before 
them, the populace was easily stirred to uncontrollable fury, 
which had to find vent on a scapegoat. After vain attempts 
to procure their judicial murder, the mob broke into the 
prison, at the Hague, while Jan de Witt was visiting his 
brother Cornelis there, and murdered the two brothers in 


the most brutal fashion. This happened on the 2oth of 
August 1672. More than twenty years of the most devoted 
and able service to the Republic was forgotten in the 
moment of wrath, and the Prince of Orange, William III. 
(the future King of England), was not altogether guiltless of 
the crime. 

When Spinoza heard of the horrible tragedy he was quite 
beside himself. His usual philosophic calm entirely deserted 
him. He burst into tears, and, distracted with grief and 
anger, he wrote on a placard his utter abhorrence of "the 
very lowest of barbarians " who had committed the iniquitous 
murder. He wanted to go out and post his denunciation 
near the scene of the crime. Fortunately, Van der Spyck 
was more discreet. He locked the door, so that Spinoza 
could not get out to share the fate of the de Witts. 

Some time after these terrible events the heirs of Jan de 
Witt showed some hesitation about continuing Spinoza s 
pension. Some of the philosopher s friends, when they 
heard of it, urged him to enforce his legal claims on the 
strength of the written promise which he possessed. But 
Spinoza simply returned that document to de Witt s heirs, 
without any comment. Impressed by his conduct, they 
continued his pension without any more ado. 

The war between France and Holland proved fatal to yet 
another friend of Spinoza. His old teacher, Van den Enden, 
had been compelled to leave Amsterdam some years before 
these events. For a time he stayed in Antwerp, and then 
settled in Paris. Here his desire to help his own country at 
that critical period led him to join in a conspiracy to betray 
Quillebceuf to the Dutch, and to raise a rebellion in Nor 
mandy. All this would, of course, have greatly helped the 
Netherlands in their struggle with Louis XIV. But the 
conspiracy was discovered, and Van den Enden was be 
headed in front of the Bastille in November 1674. Such 
was the tragic end of the man who had befriended Spinoza 


in the early days of his struggle, and who had contributed 
not a little towards the early development of his scientific 

The war with France had yet further consequences in 
store for Spinoza. In 1673 the French army under Prince 
Conde was encamping at Utrecht, and among the officers 
there was a Colonel Stoupe, who was in charge of a Swiss 
regiment. Stoupe was an ex-parson, well read, but an 
adventurer. Conde was a man of liberal views, and inte 
rested in art, science, and philosophy. And during their 
enforced idleness at Utrecht, Stoupe suggested that as 
Spinoza (already famous as the author of the geometric 
version of Descartes Principia, and much more so as the 
author of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus) lived quite near, 
at the Hague, it would be interesting to get to know him. 
Conde accordingly sent, through Stoupe, an invitation to 
Spinoza to visit him at Utrecht. What induced Stoupe 
to seek the acquaintance of Spinoza seems fairly clear. 
Though a Calvinist, and at one time a minister of his reli 
gion, he had brought a regiment of Swiss soldiers to the 
service of Catholic France against the Calvinist Netherlands. 
The fact is that he was just an unscrupulous adventurer ; 
at heart (as Bishop Burnet has said of him) he was neither 
a Protestant nor a Christian, but a man of intrigue and of 
no virtue. But he was anxious to keep up appearances, 
and when a countryman of his took him severely to task for 
helping the Catholics against his own fellow-Calvinists, he 
tried to defend himself by suggesting that the majority of 
the Dutch were not Calvinists at all, but heretics of the 
blackest dye. In a pamphlet which he published about 
September 1673, he refers to Spinoza as a bad Jew and worse 
Christian, who had written a treatise with the aim of de 
stroying all religion and establishing atheism. This book 
(he added) was, nevertheless, openly sold and widely read, 
and no Dutchman has taken the trouble to refute it, while 


its author was, in fact, much sought after by learned men 
and fashionable ladies, and so on. The object of the invi 
tation to Spinoza, so far as Stoupe was concerned, was 
therefore simply to get what information he could that 
might be turned to account for his self-defence. And such 
were the terms in which he described Spinoza apparently 
at the very time when he professed the greatest regard for 
him ! 

Spinoza, on the other hand, a dreamer by birth, probably 
saw in this invitation from Prince Conde a possible opening 
for peace negotiations, and was anxious to do his duty. He 
seems to have consulted some people in authority, and 
whatever they may have thought about it privately, they 
could certainly see no harm in Spinoza s errand. And so, 
armed with the necessary safe-conducts, Spinoza made his 
way to Utrecht in May 1673. He was well received by 
Count Luxemburg, on behalf of Prince Conde, who had in 
the meantime been called away, and he was invited to stay 
there and await the Prince s return. Spinoza s intercourse 
with the Count, with Stoupe and others there, seems to 
have been of the friendliest kind, and it is known that he 
made a very good impression. But when, after waiting 
several weeks, the news arrived that Conde could not return, 
Spinoza took his departure. He had been offered a pension 
if he would dedicate a book to Louis XIV. ; but Spinoza 
was not Stoupe he was not ready to serve any master 
for hire. He declined the request, and returned to the 

The people at the Hague had, in the meantime, got wind 
of Spinoza s visit to the enemy s camp. With mob charity 
they could give but one meaning to this Spinoza was a 
spy. When, therefore, he arrived at the Hague, scowls and 
stones greeted his return, and Van der Spyck was afraid that 
the mob would break into the house. Spinoza, however, 
begged him not to be afraid. " I am innocent," he said, 


"and some of our leading statesmen know why I went to 
Utrecht. As soon as the people make any noise, I shall go 
out to them, even if they should do to me what they did to 
the good de Witts. I am a good Republican, and my desire 
is the good of the Republic." Apparently Spinoza s frank 
and fearless bearing in the moment of danger reassured the 
suspicious people, and he escaped without harm. 

The invitation from Prince Conde was not the only 
compliment paid to Spinoza that year. A more important 
invitation had reached him in February. It came from the 
Elector Palatine, Karl Ludwig, the brother of the Princess 
Elizabeth, who had befriended Descartes. The Elector 
offered him the Professorship of Philosophy at the 
University of Heidelberg. The invitation certainly had 
considerable attractions, and Spinoza considered it for 
about six weeks. But, in the first place, he could not make 
up his mind to become a public teacher after all these years 
of habitual quietude and retirement. In the second place, 
he had misgivings about the statement made in the 
invitation concerning the Prince s confidence that Spinoza 
would not misuse his freedom in philosophical teaching to 
disturb the public religion. " I do not know [Spinoza 
wrote] the limits within which the freedom of my philo 
sophical teaching would be confined, if I am to avoid all 
appearance of disturbing the publicly established religion. 
Religious quarrels do not arise so much from ardent zeal 
for religion as from men s various dispositions, and the love 
of contradiction which makes them habitually distort and 
condemn everything. ... I have experienced these things 
in my private and secluded life, how much more should I 
have to fear them after my promotion to this post of honour." 
So he acknowledged gracefully the Prince s liberality in 
offering him the Professorship, and declined it with thanks. 
There can be no doubt that it was the wisest course, for, 
besides the reasons stated by Spinoza himself, it must be 



remembered that he could scarcely tear himself away from 
his numerous friends in Holland, and that the course of 
events in his fatherland (as his political writings show) 
touched him too closely to permit of his going abroad in 
that critical period. Moreover, though he may not have 
anticipated quite such an early end as befell him (he died 
four years afterwards), yet with his state of consumption he 
could scarcely expect to grow old. 

That Spinoza had a large circle of friends and ac 
quaintances there can be no doubt, though the ascendency 
of the orthodox and the evil repute of his views compelled 
people, from sheer prudence, to keep quiet about their 
knowledge and admiration of him. One of his most devoted 
friends at the Hague was a Dr. J. M. Lucas, a medical 
practitioner, who subsequently wrote the oldest extant 
biography of Spinoza, which breathes the most ardent 
attachment to the philosopher. Another of his medical 
friends was Dr. G. H. Schuller, who practised medicine at 
Amsterdam, but also devoted much time to alchemy and 
philosophy. It was Schuller who brought Spinoza into 
contact with one of the most promising of the younger 
scientists, Tschirnhaus, and, through him, also with the 
most eminent philosopher of the next generation Leibniz. 
Tschirnhaus was a young German Count who had studied 
at Leyden. In 1674 he made the acquaintance of Schuller 
at Amsterdam. Having studied Descartes, he was interested 
to hear all about Spinoza, with whom he soon started a cor 
respondence, and also came into personal contact towards 
the end of the same year. In the following summer, 1675, 
he visited London, where he met Oldenburg and Boyle. 
He also visited Paris in the same year, and, on the advice 
of Spinoza, called on Christian Huygens, who had settled in 
Paris since 1667, and (it is interesting to compare) had 
continued to enjoy the profitable patronage of Louis XIV. 
even during the years of disaster which that King had 


inflicted on the Netherlands, while Spinoza had declined 
even to dedicate a book to him for the sake of a pension. 
The still interesting correspondence between Spinoza and 
Tschirnhaus lasted about two years. In 1683 Tschirnhaus 
published his De Medicina Mentis, dealing with the same 
problem as Spinoza s Treatise on the Improvement of the 
Understanding, and borrowing some of its ideas. But 
prudence prevented him from mentioning Spinoza, to whom 
he simply referred as quidam (somebody). 

Incidentally Tschirnhaus s visit to London led to a re 
sumption of the correspondence between Oldenburg and 
Spinoza, which seems to have been dropped since 1665. 
Spinoza had sent a copy of his TractatusTheologico-Politicus 
to Oldenburg, who felt rather shocked by its heterodox 
views, and expressed himself accordingly in a letter which 
may not have reached Spinoza, but which, in any case, 
would probably not have brought about a renewal of their 
correspondence. The account, however, which Tschirnhaus 
gave of Spinoza and his views seems to have produced a 
conciliatory effect on Oldenburg, who thereupon wrote 
another letter to Spinoza, saying that " a closer consideration 
of the whole subject had convinced him that he (Spinoza) 
was far from attempting any injury to true religion and 
sound philosophy." Spinoza, who had taken no notice of 
the various "refutations" of his treatise published by 
various people, was nevertheless anxious to know, and to 
discuss carefully, the objections which Oldenburg or, 
indeed, any reasonable people had to bring against his 
views. In the course of his increasingly stiff letters, it turns 
out that Oldenburg objected to the entire system of 
Spinoza s philosophy, and that what he wished Spinoza to 
do was nothing less than to write a kind of philosophic 
apologetic of orthodox Christianity ! Spinoza may well 
have wondered whether Oldenburg was guilty of stupidity 
or of hypocrisy. 


In the meantime Spinoza had finished his Ethics, and was 
contemplating its immediate publication. He mentioned 
this to Oldenburg in a letter written at the end of June 
1675. Oldenburg replied that he " will not object to receiv 
ing a few copies of the said treatise " to dispose of among 
his friends, but asked him to send them in such a way that 
no one may know of it, and begged him " not to insert any 
passages which may seem to discourage the practice of 
religion and virtue." 

About the end of July 1676 Spinoza went to Amsterdam 
to arrange for the publication of the Ethica. What happened 
there is best told in Spinoza s own words. " While I was 
negotiating [he writes to Oldenburg] a rumour gained 
currency that I had in the press a book concerning God, 
wherein I endeavoured to show that there is no God. 
This report was believed by many. Thereupon certain 
theologians, perhaps the authors of the rumour, took 
occasion to complain of me before the Prince and the 
Magistrates. Moreover, the stupid Cartesians, being 
suspected of favouring me, endeavoured to remove the 
aspersion by abusing everywhere my opinions and writings, 
a course which they still pursue. When I became aware of 
this through trustworthy men, who also assured me that 
the theologians were everywhere lying in wait for me, I 
determined to put off publishing till I saw how things were 
going. . . . But matters seem to get worse and worse, and 
I am still uncertain what to do." 

Oldenburg must have felt intensely relieved by the news 
that the publication of the Ethica had been indefinitely 
postponed. The poor man had changed indeed. In his 
early days, hearing of Spinoza s hesitation to publish the 
equally unorthodox Short Treatise, he had begged Spinoza 
to ignore the " petty theologians" and to publish. "Come, 
good sir [he then said], castaway all fear of exciting against 
you the pigmies of our time. Long enough have we sacri- 


ficed to ignorance and pedantry. Let us spread the sails of 
true knowledge, and explore the recesses of nature more 
thoroughly than heretofore." He had grown nervous, 
almost stupidly nervous, since then. It must be remem 
bered, however, that he had learned an unpleasant lesson 
in the Tower of London, in 1667, that he was never really a 
profound thinker, and that his environment, though scien 
tific, was none too enlightened, Robert Boyle, for instance, 
regarded his escape from a certain thunderstorm as due to 
miraculous interposition, and one may well believe that he 
had strange opinions about the author of the Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicm, as Tschirnhaus relates. Perhaps it 
was this very treatise (coupled with " the shades of doubt 
which," as he confessed, " did sometimes cross his mind ") 
that first suggested to him the idea of founding the Boyle 
Lectures for the vindication of Christianity. And Olden 
burg was sufficiently under the influence of Boyle not only 
to suspect Spinoza s philosophy, which was defensible 
enough, but even to suspect his motives, which was quite 
indefensible, and which Spinoza certainly resented. 

The Ethica, then, had to be laid aside, and it was not 
destined to be published during the author s lifetime. 
Spinoza now applied himself to the other writings, which 
have already been enumerated above. The Tractatus Poli- 
ticus must have engaged most of his attention and interest. 
From one point of view it was a fine tribute to the memory 
of that eminent statesman Jan de Witt, whose conduct of 
affairs received here its fullest philosophical justification. 
Moreover that liberal regime was rapidly passing away, as 
Spinoza had good reason to know. The Dutch had arrived 
at the parting of the ways, and showed a marked tendency 
to leave the republican highway for the path of monarchy. 
Like Samuel of old, he was determined solemnly to warn his 
countrymen. But, above all, he wanted to set before them 
a vivid exposition of the great principles of all true states- 


manship, the supreme ideal of all statecraft. That ideal 
was the perfection of the individual citizen. This was only 
attainable where there was security and freedom. And the 
supreme duty of the State was to secure these two conditions. 
Democracy was the best form of government. The ideal, 
however, may also be approached under other forms of 
government. But whatever the external form may be (and 
Spinoza must have realised his country s almost irrevocable 
drift towards monarchy), let not the true ideal be forgotten. 
The Political Treatise was the " Ethical Will and Testament " 
which Spinoza left for his country ; and it was a dying hand 
that wrote it, too late to finish it. 

Four months before his death Spinoza made the personal 
acquaintance of Leibniz. About eight years before that 
already Leibniz had read Spinoza s version of Descartes 
Principia, and in 1671 he had sent him a copy of his " Notice 
of the Progress of Optics." In return Spinoza sent him a 
copy of his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. This book was 
already known to Leibniz, and had been described by him as 
" an unbearably free-thinking book." But he did not know 
till then who its author was, nor did his teacher, Professor 
Thomas, who had written a " refutation " of it. Leibniz 
wanted to communicate his discovery to his teacher, with 
out, however, disclosing more than his diplomacy dictated. 
" The author of the book," he wrote, " is Benedict Spinoza, 
a Jew (my Dutch friends write me word) expelled from the 
Synagogue for his monstrous opinions, but a man of 
universal learning, and especially eminent in Optics, and 
in the construction of very fine telescopes." In 1675 
Leibniz was in Paris, and there he met Tschirnhaus, who 
had read a manuscript copy of Spinoza s Ethics, and now 
communicated some of Spinoza s views to Leibniz. 
Leibniz grew eager to read the Ethics for himself, and 
Tschirnhaus wrote to Dr. Schuller to obtain Spinoza s 
permission to show Leibniz a copy of the Ethics. But 


Spinoza declined. He had no faith in Leibniz, and his 
distrust was not unfounded. " What [asked Spinoza] takes 
Leibniz away from Frankfort, and what is he doing in 
Paris ? " Spinoza had reason to suspect that Leibniz was 
on a mission for the reunion of Protestants and Catholics, 
which would lead to a joint effort to repress all liberal 
tendencies, and to suppress freedom of thought and speech, 
which were so near to his heart. Leibniz s attitude towards 
these things was certainly unlike Spinoza s, and his subse 
quent behaviour towards Spinoza rather justified that in 
stinctive distrust with which Spinoza at first met him. But 
when Leibniz came to the Hague, in the autumn of 1676, 
Spinoza s distrust and reserve vanished. Leibniz frequently 
visited Spinoza in his humble lodgings, and there (as he 
himself has left on record) " conversed with him often and 
at great length." He also obtained a first-hand knowledge 
of Spinoza s Ethics then. During the years which followed 
Leibniz devoted close attention to the philosophy of Spinoza, 
and even assimilated some of his ideas, but there was a 
remarkable lack of common generosity, not to say common 
honesty, both in the way in which he generally avoided all 
reference to Spinoza, and also in the tone of his remarks 
when on rare occasions he did refer to him. 

Spinoza s days were ending fast. Dr. Schuller, writing to 
Leibniz on the 6th February, 1677, expresses his fear that 
Spinoza would not remain much longer among them, as his 
consumption was growing worse from day to day. He 
was only forty-four years of age, but his constitution was 
enfeebled through hereditary consumption, aggravated by 
the glass-dust from the lenses, and the sedentary habits of 
the student. And he had lived strenuous days. To the very 
last he was up and doing. On Saturday afternoon the 2oth 
February 1677, he was still downstairs chatting with the 
Van der Spycks, But he had already sent for Dr. Schuller, 
and retired early to bed. On the Sunday morning Dr. 


Schuller arrived. Spinoza was up ; and at midday had some 
chicken-broth which the doctor had ordered for him. There 
seemed to be no immediate danger, and the Van der Spycks 
went to church in the afternoon. On their way home 
they were informed that Spinoza was no more. He had 
passed away at three o clock, in the presence of Dr. Schuller. 

Four days later Spinoza was buried in the New Church 
on the Spuy, which is quite near to the Paviljoensgragt. 
Six coaches followed the cortege, and many prominent 
people followed him to his last resting-place, which was 
close to that of Jan de Witt. Of wordly possessions he left 
very little behind him, and that chiefly in the way of books. 
Dr. Schuller took possession of some of the most valuable 
of these, and even then there still remained about 160 
works (some of them quite costly), the list of which has 
fortunately been preserved ; and copies of nearly all of them 
are now in the Spinoza Museum at Rijnsburg. The pro 
ceeds of these, and of some lenses which he also left behind, 
were just enough to defray all his debts and the cost of 
burial though his grave was but a hired grave, and was 
used again some years after his death. 

In accordance with Spinoza s instructions, his desk, con 
taining the manuscripts of his unpublished works, was 
entrusted to the care of Jan Rieuwertsz, the Amsterdam book 
seller. Immediate publication seemed to be dangerous for 
publisher and editors ; and when they had the courage they 
had not the money to proceed with the printing. For a 
time they thought of selling the manuscript of the Ethica to 
Leibniz, intending no doubt to apply the proceeds towards 
the cost of printing it from one of their own copies of that 
work. Schuller had already communicated with Leibniz 
about it, but at the last moment some one at the Hague 
came to the rescue, and as early as November 1677 Spinoza s 
Opera Posthuma appeared in print. It consisted of one quarto 
volume, and contained the Ethics, the Political Treatise, the 
Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding, the Letters, 



and the Hebrew Grammar. All names and other means f 
identification had been carefully removed from the corre 
spondence ; the editors names, as also the name of the pub 
lisher and the place of publication were not given ; and 
only the initials of Spinoza (B. D. S.) appeared on the title- 
page. The editors were Jelles (who appears to have written 
the Preface), Meyer, and Schuller ; and the editorial work 
seems to have been carried on secretly in one of the rooms 
of the Orphan Asylum, which had just been established in 
Amsterdam by some of Spinoza s Collegiant friends. It was 
at this Orphan Asylum (which is still in existence) that some 
of the originals of Spinoza s letters were subsequently dis 
covered, with editorial pencil-notes on them. 

Two hundred years later a remarkable contrast to this 
secrecy was witnessed, when the whole learned world joined 
in celebrating the memory of Spinoza. In 1880 his statue 
was erected in the Hague, within view of both houses where 
he had lived his last years. And a new, complete edition of 
his works was published in 1882, containing a portrait espe 
cially engraved from the painting in the library at Wolfen- 
biittel, where Lessing, poet, philosopher, and champion of 
the ill-used, had, nearly a century before that, taken the first 
steps towards the due recognition of Spinoza. The tribute 
paid to his memory was world-wide ; and it was well 
deserved. For there is considerable truth in Heine s witty 
saying that " all our modern philosophers, though often 
perhaps unconsciously, see through the glasses which 
Baruch Spinoza ground." 


In attempting to form an estimate of the character of 
Spinoza, one should be guided by what is actually known 
about him from the direct evidence of those who knew him 
personally. There is a natural temptation to judge his 


personality by deductions from his views as seen through 
one s own spectacles. But it is not too much to say that, of 
the two alternative courses, it is far more safe to interpret the 
philosophy of Spinoza in the light of what is independently 
known about his life and character than to estimate his 
character in the light of certain deductions from an inde 
pendent interpretation of his views. During his lifetime 
Spinoza was often condemned and vilified on the score of 
his opinions, and on account of defects which, it was tacitly 
assumed, these revealed in his character. There is reason 
to believe that, but for his death, Spinoza s fate might 
have been very much like that of Koerbagh. After his death, 
it was considered a crime to say anything good about Spi 
noza, and for more than a century afterwards his name was 
anathema maranatha. Even people who were not too sensi 
tive to his criticism of the Bible felt that a man who main 
tained the relativity of good and evil, and believed in 
universal necessity, had no incentive to be good, and, there 
fore, was very likely bad. Such an interpretation and deduc 
tion were, to say the least, very one-sided, and, towards the end 
of the eighteenth century, its absurdity was exposed by the no 
less one-sided view which, by laying exclusive stress on " the 
intellectual love of God " and kindred doctrines of Spinoza, 
transformed him into a " God-intoxicated" saint. 

If we turn to the main facts of Spinoza s life, and to the 
recorded judgments of the people who knew him personally, 
there can be no doubt that Spinoza, though not a saint in 
the accepted sense of the expression, was certainly one of 
the finest characters of which the history of philosophy can 
boast. The dominant feature in his character was his devo 
tion to the pursuit of truth. For it he was ever ready to 
make all sacrifices. Neither bribes nor threats could in any 
way seduce him from that pursuit. And he readily sacri 
ficed his personal comfort in order that he might have 
money for books, and time for study. To him the pursuit 


of truth was no mere pastime or trade it was the true life 
of man. One might almost say that it constituted the 
religion of Spinoza. Yet he was no mere intellectualist. 
If his devotion to knowledge reminds one of the striking 
utterances of his great medieval kinsman, Maimonides 
(whose Guide of the Perplexed Spinoza read and possessed), 
his moral earnestness re-echoes something of the voice of 
the Prophets. Nothing offended him more than the sug 
gestion that his views tended to discourage the practice of 
virtue ; nothing outraged him more than the reading of 
Homo Politicus, a book in which, from apparently Spinozistic 
principles, maxims were deduced for the most selfish and 
immoral conduct. Again and again he insisted on absolute 
purity of motive even in the communication of views which 
he regarded as absolutely true. When sending his Short 
Treatise to his Amsterdam friends he begs of them to be 
sure that nothing but the good of their neighbours will ever 
induce them to communicate its doctrines to others. And 
it was out of considerateness for his fellow-men that he 
tried, as far as possible, not to unsettle their religious beliefs. 
He assured the Van der Spycks that their religion was quite 
good, and that they need have no misgivings whatever so 
long as their conduct was good and upright. Good conduct 
and pure motives, these were the most essential things, and, 
devoted as he was to truth, he maintained that Turks and 
heathens who did their duty and loved their fellow-men 
were filled with the spirit of Christ, whom Spinoza regarded 
as the highest type of manhood. Even in the professed 
polemic of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus he passes by 
without criticism the less harmful of orthodox doctrines, 
although he disagreed with them. But there was no dupli 
city about him ; when men of education invited his views 
on some of these very doctrines (such as the divinity of 
Christ) he did not mince matters, but expressed his views 
without any equivocation. His means for active benevo- 


lence were not great. Still what little he possessed was 
at the service of his friends. When informed that a con 
siderable sum of money, which he had lent in this way, was 
lost, he merely remarked quietly, and with a smile, that he 
would have to draw in his expenses for the future. Wealth 
and position had no undue attraction for him. He would 
not for their sake bind or blind his judgment by accepting 
the Heidelberg professorship, or even appear to do so by 
paying a formal compliment to a monarch whose aims and 
methods he condemned. In this respect he stood head and 
shoulders above some of his most eminent contemporaries 
in the world of science. But though of an independent 
spirit he was neither proud nor cold and reserved. He 
met half-way, and more, all people who offered him their 
friendship. He showed wonderful patience with the most 
mediocre people who turned to him with their difficulties ; 
and he was kindly to the humblest. Amid all the accusa 
tions brought against Spinoza, no specific charge was ever 
made against his moral character. It was always his here 
tical views, and his character as deduced a priori from these 
views by the ingenuity of " learned parsons," that were flung 
at his head. This is remarkable in itself, and is amply con 
firmed by Colerus, the Lutheran pastor, who, though he 
considered Spinoza s heresies to be abominable and most 
outrageous, has nevertheless made it perfectly clear that 
Spinoza s morals were unassailable. The peasants at Rijns- 
burg and Voorburg, we are expressly told, agreed that he was 
" a man whom it was good to know, kind, upright, obliging, 
and of good morals." People of culture felt a peculiar charm 
in his presence, and men of his own age, and even older 
men, looked upon him with the respect of disciples. We 
have seen already what impression he made on Oldenburg 
and the Seigneur de St. Evremont when they came into per 
sonal touch with him. The account which we have from Dr. 
Lucas, who knew Spinoza intimately in the Hague, breathes 


a spirit of the utmost veneration. And many who have only 
read his writings have felt themselves in the presence of an 
uncommon moral atmosphere of utter unselfishness and 
disinterestedness, and a boundless faith in human goodness. 
Spinoza was not a saint. He did not believe in turning 
the cheek to the smiter. Nor was he so other-worldly as to 
despise the world and the flesh. He could say hard things 
against insolent ignoramuses and heretic-hunters ; he never 
quite forgot the wrong done to him by his kinsmen and 
his tribe ; and, in the heat of conflict, he even forgot to 
pause for a moment in order to acknowledge some of the 
merits of the Law and the Prophets. He was human, and 
was influenced by emotions to a far greater extent than is 
supposed by those who exaggerate his intellectualism, be 
cause they deduce his character from certain aspects of his 
philosophy. He could be angry with immorality and in 
tolerance, and he felt injured by unmerited suspicion. He 
laughed to see divines excel the devil by their wiles ; and 
he wept over the tragic fate of the de Witts. He was not 
even an ascetic. Though extraordinarily abstemious in his 
mode of life living on a few pence a day and with a pipe 
for his only luxury this was mainly due to his circum 
stances. His desire for independence and his devotion to 
books made it impossible for him to earn sufficient to in 
dulge in the ordinary comforts of life, and so abstemious 
ness gradually became a habit with him. But he had no 
contempt for the reasonable pleasures or joys of life. " I 
enjoy life [he wrote] and try to live it, not in sorrow and 
sighing, but in peace, joy, and cheerfulness." And those 
who knew him have confirmed the truth of this. He could 
not understand how any one could find, or imagine that 
God would find, any virtue in sighs and tears, and the like. 
" Nothing [he insists] but a gloomy and sad superstition for 
bids enjoyment." Indeed, what he had, in the first instance, 
sought in philosophy was guidance in the attainment of 


happiness. It was not, as in the case of Descartes, discontent 
with the then state of knowledge that drove him to philosophy, 
but discontent with the ordinary pursuits and pleasures of life, 
because they failed to bring abiding happiness. This is evident 
from the opening passage of his Treatise on the Improvement 
of the Understanding, already quoted above. He had turned 
to philosophy for guidance in the pursuit of happiness, and 
found his happiness in the pursuit of philosophy. 

On the other hand, there was certainly something of the 
higher mysticism about Spinoza. It would be a mistake to 
empty his religious terminology of all its religious meaning. 
We are trenching here on a difficult question of interpreta 
tion, and we do not wish to dogmatise. Still it should not 
be forgotten that, though convinced of the truth of his 
philosophy, Spinoza was far from supposing that it was the 
whole truth. There were but few things, even in the world 
of extension and thought, of which he professed to have 
the highest kind of knowledge ; while, besides extension 
and thought, there were infinite aspects of the universe (or 
attributes of substance) of which he avowedly had no know 
ledge whatever. He felt more than he saw. And though 
he loved to live in the clear, common light of day, and 
hated the bigotry and superstition that lurk in the shadows 
of the twilight, yet he felt the glow of the presence that 
dwells in the setting sun, even if he was not absorbed in visions 
of a light that never shone on land or sea. It was some 
thing of this mystic feeling that prompted his religious 
language, and gave to his personality that charm which 
won all who came near him. It also won for him the sym 
pathy of poets like Goethe and Lessing, Coleridge and 
Wordsworth, just as his calm scientific outlook has made 
him a favourite with men of science. His moral ardour seems 
almost aglow with this mystic fire, and, if we may not call 
him a priest of the most high God, yet he was certainly a 
prophet of the power which makes for righteousness. 



THE Short Treatise was not published in the lifetime of 
Spinoza, nor was it included in the Opera Posthuma pub 
lished in November 1677, shortly after the death of Spinoza. 
The writer of the Preface to the Opera Posthuma does not 
even refer to it specifically. He alludes to the essay On the 
Rainbow, of which he appears to have been unable to obtain 
a copy, and which he believed to have been burned by 
Spinoza. But, for the rest, he simply remarks in a general 
sort of way that " although it is credible that some work of 
our philosopher [Spinoza] may still be in the possession of 
somebody or other without his knowledge, it may never 
theless be assumed that nothing will be found therein 
which is not already given repeatedly in these writings," 
that is, in the Ethics, the Political Treatise, the Treatise on 
the Improvement of the Understanding, the Correspondence, 
and the Hebrew Grammar, which between them constituted 
the Opera Posthuma. Thus no reference is made to the Short 
Treatise even as a possibly lost work of Spinoza. On the 
other hand, it should be remembered that to the editors of 
the Opera Posthuma, as indeed to Spinoza himself, the Short 
Treatise appeared to have been superseded by the Ethics. 
Hence the silence about the Short Treatise may not be so 
strange after all, and one should not attach too much 
importance to it. A report dating from 1703, the truth 
of which there is no reason to doubt, tends to show that 
J. Rieuwertsz (junior), the publisher of the Opera Posthuma, 



actually possessed a manuscript copy of what is now called 
the Short Treatise, but which was then not unnaturally 
regarded simply as an early draft of the Ethics. 

In 1703, Gottlieb Stolle (1673-1744) a Silesian who was 
appointed Professor of Political Science at Jena in 1717 
and a Dr. Hallmann travelled through Holland, where they 
interviewed various people who had known Spinoza. Among 
others they saw Rieuwertsz at Amsterdam. Rieuwertsz gave 
them some personal reminiscences of Spinoza, for whom (so 
they relate) he showed uncommon affection, and, with tears 
in his eyes, wished that Spinoza were still alive. Rieuwertsz 
also showed them several manuscripts of Spinoza s works, 
and among them was one apparently written in Spinoza s 
own handwriting. This (according to Hallmann) was no 
other than Spinoza s first, Dutch version of the Ethica ; it was 
quite different from the published Ethica not worked out 
in the geometric method, but in the ordinary way, and 
divided into chapters, like the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus ; 
Rieuwertsz assured them that the printed Ethica was very 
much better than this manuscript version, though the latter 
contained some things which were omitted from the former, 
notably the chapter on the Devil. Several friends of 
Spinoza, said Rieuwertsz, had copies of that manuscript, 
which had never been printed because the Latin version, 
which had been published, was altogether superior and had 
been well edited. The story is not altogether free from 
difficulties. But it undoubtedly gives us an explicit 
reference to the so-called Short Treatise. Stolle and Hall- 
mann s account of their travels, written in 1704, was not 
published till 1847,* but Stolle repeated his information about 
the Short Treatise in his Brief Introduction to the History of 
Learning, which was published in 1718. The story about the 
Dutch Ethics and the chapter on the Devil was repeated by 

* Extracts from Stolle-Hallmann s Reisebeschreibung are given in Freu- 
denthal s Die Lebensgeschichte Spinozas, pp. 221 #. 


]. F. Reimmann (1668-1743) in his Catalogue of Theological 
Books, which was published in 1731, also by ]. C. Mylius in 
his Library of Anonymous and Pseudonymous Authors, which 
was published in 1740. These notices, however, do not 
seem to have attracted any attention. Spinoza had such an 
evil reputation among respectable scholars (including Stolle 
and Reimmann) that there was no anxiety to discover or 
recover any of his unpublished works, the published ones 
being considered more than enough. In the latter half of 
the eighteenth century we observe, indeed, some signs of an 
active interest in Spinoza remains. C. T. de Murr, of 
Nurnberg, visited Holland in search of Spinoza relics. He 
brought back with him a Latin manuscript copy of 
Spinoza s notes to the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, and a 
report that Spinoza s Ethica was originally written in Dutch 
and contained a chapter on the Devil, that he then trans 
lated it into Latin, throwing it at the same time into 
geometric form, owing to which and other alterations it 
was retranslated from the Latin into Dutch by Jarig Jelles. 
For about a century the matter rested there. 

In 1851 Edward Boehmer, Professor of Philosophy at 
Halle, went to Holland, also in search of Spinoza rarities. 
At Amsterdam he bought from F. Miiller, a well-known 
bookseller there, a copy of the Life of Spinoza by Colerus. 
Section 12 of Colerus Life of Spinoza treats very briefly of 
the philosopher s unpublished writings, and Boehmer s 
copy had a manuscript note (in Dutch) to this section, 
saying that among certain votaries of philosophy there was 
still extant, in manuscript, a treatise of Spinoza, which 
treats of the same subjects as the printed Ethica, though 
not in the geometric method, and that its style and general 
drift show it to be one of the earliest of Spinoza s writings, 
in fact the first draft of the Ethica, and for some people 
less obscure than this, just because it is not cast in the 
geometric form, except to a very small extent in the 



Appendix to the treatise. And at the end of the same copy 
of Colerus Life of Spinoza there actually followed a fairly 
complete analysis of the Short Treatise, chapter by chapter, 
and written in the same hand as the note to section 12. 
Boehmer published his Benedicti de Spinoza Tractatus de 
Deo et Homine ejusque Felicitate Lineamenta in 1852, and a 
new impetus was given to the search for the Short Treatise. 
Not long afterwards a manuscript copy of the Short 
Treatise itself came to light. F. Miiller, the same bookseller 
from whom Boehmer had got his copy of the Colerus, 
bought this manuscript of the Short Treatise at an auction. 
And while Dr. J. van Vloten was preparing to publish it 
together with some Spinoza letters, which had been dis 
covered at the Collegiant Orphan Asylum in Amsterdam, a 
second (and older) manuscript of the Short Treatise was 
discovered. The poet, Adrian Bogaers, of Rotterdam, 
found it among his books. This (the older) manuscript is 
generally referred to as codex A, the other as codex B. 
The first edition of the Short Treatise was published, in 
1862, by Dr. ]. van Vloten in his Ad Benedicti de Spinoza 
Opera qucz Supersunt Omnia Supplementum. It was based 
on both the manuscripts, and was accompanied by a Latin 
translation. A more careful edition of codex A was 
published in 1869 by Professor C. Schaarschmidt, of Bonn, 
and also by Van Vloten and Land in their editions of the 
complete works of Spinoza (1882, 1895.) Both manuscripts 
are now in the Royal Library at the Hague. 


When Codex B was discovered it was found that the 
handwriting was the same as that of the notes and " out 
line " in Boehmer s copy of Colerus Life of Spinoza, and 

J ><Vt_ t^i^voGi^e^^ eV^^<^fcc>n 

^r-cC v ^\.1& a t!A,&*5 



Dr. Antonius van der Linde had already shown that the 
handwriting in Boehmer s Colerus was precisely the same 
as that of various manuscripts which were known to have 
been copied by Johannes Monnikhoff, an Amsterdam doctor 
who was born in 1707 and died in 1787. Preceding the 
Short Treatise in codex B is a long introduction in which 
reference is made to the year 1743, so that this copy could 
not have been written before then. The same codex also 
contains, at the end, Notes to the Tractatus Theologico- 
Politicus, all of them in the same handwriting. The Intro 
duction seems to be the composition of Monnikhoff, while 
the Short Treatise and the Notes were evidently copied by 
him. That the handwriting is that of Monnikhoff is certain 
from the fact that several manuscripts, at the Hague Library, 
written in exactly the same hand have introductions which 
are signed by him. We reproduce from one of these 
manuscripts a facsimile of some verses signed by Johannes 
Monnikhoff, for comparison with the facsimiles of several 
pages from codex B. According to F. Miiller, the book 
seller who discovered it, codex B of the Short Treatise 
accompanied a Dutch manuscript translation of Spinoza s 
version of Descartes Principia. But of this there is no 
sign in the parchment-bound quarto volume which contains 
simply an Introduction on the life and writings of Spinoza, 
the Short Treatise, and the Notes to the Tractatus Theologico- 
Politicus no more. On the back of the volume, however, 
the title is obviously incomplete. It says 


and there is evidently missing a second volume having on 
its back the rest of the whole title, namely : 


De Spinoza 


This is highly probable, because in another two-volume 
manuscript copied also by Monnikhoff the title of the work 
is similarly spread over the backs of the two volumes. And 
it is possible that the missing volume may have contained 
the Principia, or perhaps some other work, since the Prin- 
cipia was already published, in Dutch as well as in Latin. 
The Introduction in codex B, it is interesting to note, gives 
also a summary of the Short Treatise which is practically 
identical with the " Outline " in Boehmer s copy of 

Codex A is a much thicker quarto volume, and contains 
the Short Treatise, the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, and 
the Notes to it, all in Dutch, but the Notes are not in the 
same handwriting as the rest of the volume. A is evidently 
older than B, as may be seen from the very handwriting, 
which belongs to the seventeenth century, and is much 
more faded. Moreover, even a cursory inspection reveals 
the fact that the writer who had copied B had also been 
busy with A, which contains numerous, though mostly 
unimportant, additions in the same handwriting as B. For 
instance, at the beginning of the whole volume there is the 
following title-page in Monnikhoff s writing 

" The Writings of Benedict de Spinoza, comprising 

" I. A Treatise on God, Man and his Well-being. 
"II. A Theologico-Political Treatise. 

" Both of them with the Notes of the Author, and translated 
from the Latin." 

Separate title-pages in the same writing also precede the 
Tractatus Theologico-Politicus and the Notes. Again, follow 
ing the Table of Contents, there is a portrait of Spinoza 
apparently inserted there by Monnikhoff, who may have 
taken it from a copy of the 1677 edition of the Opera 
Posthuma, and facing it (on the left) are some well-meaning 


[PAGE 14 IN A] 

c / - 



, t^JUV^tn^^-^/i^. 
c>-vu.d-c>T__ ^CoxA e-cxMxv^ 

[PAGE 23 IN B] 


lines on the portrait,* and both the writing and the thought 
are extremely like those of the other verses signed by 
Monnikhoff, of which a facsimile has already been 
given. There are also numerous page-headings, chapter- 
headings, and cross-references in MonnikhorFs writing. 
Occasionally he also inserted a word in the text, or re- 
copied an illegible note, as may be seen from the accom 
panying facsimile, where the illegible marginal note in the 
original handwriting is seen crossed out and rewritten by 
Monnikhoff as a foot-note. The corresponding passage 
from B is also reproduced for comparison. 

It is clear, therefore, that codex A is older than B, and 
that the copyist who wrote out B also knew and used A. 
But when and by whom was A written ? The writing, as 
already remarked, belongs to the seventeenth century. But 
it was certainly not written out by Spinoza himself. This is 
obvious already from the title-page, where we are distinctly 
told (in the same writing as the bulk of the manuscript) that 
the Short Treatise was originally composed in Latin, and 
that it was translated for some of Spinoza s disciples ; and 
the whole tone of this title-page (or preface, as it might be 
called) is very unlike what we should expect from Spinoza. 
Moreover, a reference to Spinoza s autograph t is quite 
conclusive on this point. It has been suggested that codex 
A was copied by William Deurhoff (? 1650-1717), a Dutch 
theologian and a Cartesian. This suggestion derived con 
siderable plausibility from the fact that the fairly numerous 
other manuscripts copied by Monnikhoff were all of them 
the works of Deurhoff MonnikhofFs signed verses, already 
given above, actually occur in one such manuscript, and 
face a portrait of Deurhoff. It seems, therefore, not un 
natural to suppose that Monnikhoff copied codex B from 

* Reproductions of the portrait and the verses are given at the com 
mencement of the Translation (inserted between pp. 10 and n). 
f See p. Ix. 


A, largely because this was in Deurhoff s handwriting. A 
comparison with Deurhoff s authentic handwriting is, un 
fortunately, impossible. The only authentic autograph of 
Deurhoff that has been discovered so far consists of his 
signature, written in 1685, and this seems to be insufficient 
to go upon with certainty. Dr. W. Meyer, who has seen the 
signature, thinks that it rather tends to disprove the con 
jecture that A was copied by Deurhoff. And the tone of 
the Preface on the title-page of A is also unfavourable to it, 
because Deurhoff had no such admiration for Spinoza. On 
the other hand, it may be reasonably supposed that codex A 
was the property of Deurhoff, and that Monnikhoff obtained 
it from him. 

Dr. W. Meyer has made the interesting suggestion that 
codex A was originally the property of Jarig Jelles perhaps 
the very copy of the translations which he himself had 
obtained of the Short Treatise and the Tractatus Theologico- 
Politicus. Jarig Jelles was one of the oldest and warmest 
friends of Spinoza, and had defrayed the cost of publishing 
Spinoza s version of Descartes Principia, both the Latin 
and the Dutch versions. Jelles, who was a spice merchant, 
did not know Latin, and it may have been he who persuaded 
Pieter Balling to translate Spinoza s Principia into Dutch 
for that reason. It would appear that he also had the 
Tractatus Theologico-Politicus translated into Dutch, and that 
he was about to have it published in 1671. For, in a letter 
addressed to Jelles in that year, Spinoza begs him to prevent 
the publication of the Dutch translation of the Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus, as it might lead to the prohibition even 
of the Latin edition. Accordingly, no Dutch translation of 
this treatise appeared till 1693, and then another followed 
in 1694. Now the Dutch version of the Theologico-Political 
Treatise which is contained in codex A is not identical with 
either of these two other translations, and it is most probably 
earlier than 1694, because a new translation would hardly 


be made after two others had already been published. Codex 
A, moreover, bears some evidence of intended publication. 
Dr. W. Meyer, therefore, suggests that the Dutch version 
which is contained in A is the very same which was about to 
be published in 1671, but was kept back at Spinoza s request. 
And since the Short Treatise is in the same handwriting, 
and to judge by the preface seems also to have been 
intended for publication, Dr. Meyer supposes that Jelles 
had this also translated into Dutch, and that he intended to 
publish it together with the Tractatm Theologico-Politicus. 
He even conjectures that the translations were made by 
Dr. Lodewijk Meyer ; but there is no real evidence of this. 

One is inclined to ask whether codex A may not be 
identical with the manuscript which Rieuwertsz is reported 
to have shown to Stolle and Hallmann in 1703. But the 
terms of the report make it uncertain whether that manu 
script purported to be in Spinoza s own handwriting or in 
that of the bookseller s father. And, in any case, the state 
ment, in the preface on the title-page, that the Short Treatise 
was originally written in Latin, could scarcely have escaped 
their eyes, and, since they undoubtedly report that the 
manuscript was in Dutch just as Spinoza had at first com 
posed it, the probability is that it was a different copy which 
they then saw. There is no doubt, however, that manu 
script copies of the Short Treatise were extant, among 
various friends and readers of Spinoza, at the end of the 
seventeenth century, and codex A is most likely one of 
these manuscripts. 

Both A and B, however, purport to be only translations, 
or copies of a translation, from the Latin, and not copies of 
a Dutch original. This is also confirmed by an examination 
of the text of the manuscripts, which contains various 
mistakes that can only be explained on the supposition that 
they are mistranslations from the Latin. Some of these 
will be indicated in the notes. 


Again, codex A cannot be the original copy even of a 
translation, because it contains several mistakes which can 
only be accounted for on the supposition that they are mis- 
readings of Dutch words, writing (for example) alderwijste 
(wisest) where the context requires aldervrijste (freest). And 
codex B has far too much in common with A to be regarded, 
with any plausibility, as giving an independent translation 
of the Short Treatise. Prima facie the most plausible sup 
position is that A is itself a copy of an older manuscript, 
and that B is more or less a copy of A, and this suggestion 
is in large measure also confirmed by more internal 


In the main, both manuscripts give practically the same 
translation of the Short Treatise, although there are numerous 
minor differences, most of which are indicated in the 
present translation. In neatness of appearance and smooth 
ness of expression B is very much superior to A. In A 
notes and additions to the text are found sometimes all 
round the page top and bottom, and to the left and right 
of the text. Sometimes it is difficult to know which is 
meant to be text and which is meant to be the note. In B, 
on the other hand, the arrangement is perfectly clear and 
neat. Similar differences show themselves in the compo 
sition of the two manuscripts. In A the punctuation is 
sometimes absolutely barbarous there are whole strings of 
colons and semi-colons, bringing together ideas which have 
no real connection, while at other times full-stops dis 
connect what should have been connected. Occasionally 
also the trouble of translating technical expressions seems 
to be shirked, and they are simply given in their Latin 
form. All or nearly all such barbarisms are absent from 


B the punctuation is quite normal, and it generally trans 
lates into Dutch, and does not simply reproduce, such 
expressions as a priori, a posteriori, attributum, essentia, idea, 
&c. Again, in A the second part of the Short Treatise has 
numerous marginal summaries of the text, in addition to 
the explanatory notes ; B omits nearly all these marginal 
summaries, and also some of the notes. Apart from these 
relatively external differences between the two codices, 
there are also more important differences between them. 
A often has a sentence or an expression which B omits ; on 
the other hand, there are only a comparatively few cases in 
which B has any important sentence or expression which A 
has not. Again, A has numerous mistakes which are not 
found in B ; on the other hand, there are extremely few 
instances in which a passage is given correctly in A and 
wrongly in B. Illustrations of all this will be found in the 
accompanying translation and notes, though the punctua 
tion had to be somewhat improved occasionally. But such, 
in general terms, is the relation between the two manu 
scripts of the Short Treatise. 

What may reasonably be deduced from the above facts ? 
Some (Schaarschmidt, for instance) are inclined to mini 
mise the differences between A and B, and suggest that the 
improvements on A in B were made more or less arbi 
trarily by Monnikhoff, who had no other manuscript before 
him except A, and that he was guided simply by his own 
common sense or fastidious taste, as the case may be, in 
making the numerous alterations in his own copy. A 
great many of the differences between A and B might 
certainly be accounted for in this way. Sigwart, however, 
maintains that it is scarcely possible to account for all the 
differences that way ; and he inclines to the belief (rightly, 
we think) that Monnikhoff had some other manuscript,* 
besides A, which enabled him to make so many improve- 

* This hypothetical third MS. is generally called C. 


ments on A. It seems clear, however, that the suggested 
other manuscript (if Monnikhoff really had another to 
consult) could not have been the original Latin manuscript 
or a copy of it, because some of his mistakes would have 
been impossible in that case. Nor, in all probability, was 
it even an independent Dutch translation of the original, 
because in that case B would most likely not have had so 
very much in common with A as it actually has. That 
Monnikhoff might have consulted another Dutch manu 
script of the Short Treatise (besides A) seems likely from the 
fact that Rieuwertsz, for instance, had such another Dutch 
manuscript (as Hallmann reports), and there may have been 
also others in Amsterdam, where Monnikhoff lived. At the 
same time, it is just possible that Monnikhoff had only 
codex A before him, and that his own critical insight enabled 
him to make the various corrections and improvements. 


Even a cursory examination of the Short Treatise shows 
that it is not a homogeneous whole, bat a complex of parts 
in which a closer scrutiny reveals different strata of thought 
representing different stages of development. Compara 
tively external differences suffice to enable us to distinguish 
four separate parts in the Short Treatise, namely : 

(i) the bulk of the text of the treatise (both parts) ; 

(ii) the so-called foot-notes or marginal additions ; 
(Hi) the two dialogues at the end of Part I . chapter ii. ; and 
(iv) the so-called Appendices at the end of the treatise. 

It may be remarked at once that no one seriously 
doubts that the Short Treatise as a whole is the work of 


Spinoza. The only portions the authenticity of which may 
be doubted are some of the notes. Many of the notes to 
Part II. in A are evidently mere marginal summaries which 
were not made by Spinoza, and nearly all of them were 
omitted by Monnikhoff, no doubt for this very reason. 
They have also been omitted from all the published 
editions and translations of the Short Treatise. Some of the 
remaining notes (or additions) are also probably from some 
other hand than Spinoza s, and so is the preface on the 
title-page of A. Most of the long notes, however, are 
certainly Spinoza s own, and Monnikhoff says so expressly 
on the extra title-page which he wrote in codex A (which 
has already been cited above), while the "Outline" in 
Boehmer s Colerus states explicitly that Spinoza had added 
notes in further explanation and elaboration of his views. 
And the rest of the Short Treatise is Spinoza s beyond a 
doubt. The above-mentioned traditions about his Dutch 
Ethics with a chapter on the Devil, and passages in his 
letters, to which we shall refer when we try to determine the 
date of its composition, sufficiently confirm the authorship 
of Spinoza which is claimed on the title-page of both the 

But, though Spinoza wrote the whole of the Short 
Treatise (excepting the suspicious notes) as we now have 
it, he evidently did not write it all at the same time. What 
we have before us is a first draft together with successive 
attempts to correct, or supplement, or reconcile various 
parts of it. The bulk of the text represents that first draft. 
The chapters are strung together more or less loosely ; 
inconsistencies of thought or of expression are not yet 
removed. Some of the so-called notes or marginal additions 
are really new versions of the corresponding text, which 
Spinoza apparently meant to rewrite. They often represent 
a distinct advance in thought, bridging over the gulf be 
tween the text of the Treatise and the Ethics. The Dialogues 


elaborate special points, while assuming what has already 
been explained in other parts of the Treatise. Like the first 
Appendix, they also represent an experiment in the form of 
exposition. Spinoza evidently realised very quickly that his 
was not the art of writing Platonic dialogues. The second 
Appendix is concerned with the elaboration of a special 
point. The first, as already stated, is an experiment in the 
geometric form of exposition, and is intimately related to 
the Ethics. The Treatise shows us Spinoza in his workshop 
gradually shaping the material for his great edifice. It is, 
of course, all the more interesting for that. But it is prac 
tically impossible to determine precisely the chronological 
sequence of its parts. At one time it was supposed that the 
Dialogues were the oldest parts of the Treatise. Freuden- 
thal, however, has shown that they must have been written 
after the main text of the Treatise because they assume a 
knowledge of various views already explained in other parts 
of the work. Thus all that may be asserted with confidence 
is that the notes, the Dialogues, and the Appendices are 
later than the rest of the Treatise. It is also possible to 
determine which parts of the work were the last additions. 
Detailed information relating to these questions will be 
found in the Commentary. But it is important to note 
immediately that we are dealing with a book which was 
never properly prepared for publication, Spinoza having 
finally determined to recast the exposition of his philosophy 
in the geometric form, as we have it in the Ethics. The 
present arrangement of the Treatise is probably due in part 
to one of his disciples, whose insight was not sufficient to 
guard him against misplacing some parts, omitting others, 
and retaining passages which were meant to be discarded. 
Occasionally also readers comments seem to have found 
their way into the text through the copyist s lack of dis 



It is difficult to determine with any precision when the 
Short Treatise was begun, but it is comparatively easy to 
determine when it was already completed. About the end 
of 1661 Spinoza wrote to Oldenburg, saying, "as regards 
your new question, namely, in what manner things began 
to exist, and what is the bond of dependence between them 
and the first cause, on this subject, and also on the improve 
ment of the understanding, I have written a complete little 
treatise, and am at present engaged in copying and improv 
ing it. Sometimes, however, I put the work aside, for I am 
not yet sure about publishing it. I fear lest the theologians 
of our day should take offence, and, with their usual 
rancour, attack me, who have an absolute horror of 
quarrels." It is clear from this that the Treatise on the 
Improvement of the Understanding was already sufficiently 
advanced for Spinoza to think of its early publication. But 
this cannot be the only treatise to which Spinoza here refers, 
because it contains nothing about the origin of things and 
their dependence on the first cause, with which this little 
treatise, to which Spinoza refers, is primarily concerned, 
nor does it contain anything to warrant Spinoza s evident 
apprehension that it would provoke the rancour of the 
theologians. Spinoza can only be referring, in this letter, 
to our Short Treatise, the style and contents of which prove 
it to be an earlier work than the Treatise on the Improvement 
of the Understanding. The Short Treatise must have been 
already finished when Spinoza wrote the above letter to 
Oldenburg, but owing to his recent occupation with Bacon 
and the question of philosophic method, which he had also 
discussed with Oldenburg, he seems to have begun the 
Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding with the 

i 2 


intention of using it as a general introduction to his whole 
philosophy as contained for the most part in the Short 
Treatise. The opening passages of the former treatise, 
already quoted above,* are hardly appropriate as an 
introduction to a mere theory of knowledge, they refer 
rather to philosophy as a whole. Spinoza s growing pre 
ference for the geometric method, and his successful 
experiment in applying it to Descartes Principia, also the 
gradual modification of some of his views, soon led him to 
begin a new exposition of his philosophy, such as he even 
tually gave in the Ethica. And the Short Treatise thus fell 
into neglect. But there can be no doubt that it was already 
completed in 1661, possibly already the year before, if we 
allow for the Treatise on the Improvement of the Understand 
ing, which, though a fragment now and probably even more 
fragmentary then, must nevertheless have taken him some 
time to write. 

The main text of the Short Treatise, then, must have been 
written not later than 1661. It seems equally clear that it 
could not have been finished before 1660 that is to say, 
before Spinoza s removal to Rijnsburg. The reason for this 
suggestion is to be found in the concluding paragraph of 
the Second Part of the Treatise^ It is really an epistle 
addressed to his friends, to whom he is sending the 
entire manuscript of the Short Treatise (before the 
Appendices were written). And its tone and contents 
strongly suggest that it was written to friends at a distance. 
Who these friends were it is not difficult to conjecture. 
They were Balling, Jelles, Meyer, and the other members of 
the philosophical coterie to whom Spinoza subsequently 
also sent the completed portions of the Ethica in manu 
script. His friends, then, were in Amsterdam. Had 
Spinoza still been living in or near Amsterdam, it would 
scarcely have been necessary for him to write that exhor- 

* See pp. liii. ff. f See pp. 149 /. 


tation. It must, therefore, have been written when 
Spinoza had already left Amsterdam and its neighbour 
hood, and had gone to Rijnsburg. And this happened 
early in 1660. 

We would maintain, accordingly, that the Short Treatise 
was not finished before 1660. But, as already suggested, it 
was probably commenced very much earlier than that. 
Many or most of its chapters very likely contain the sub 
stance of the notes which Spinoza dictated to his disciples 
while teaching at Amsterdam. This seems to be borne out, 
to some extent, by a marginal summary at the side of the 
above-mentioned concluding paragraph of the Treatise.* 
This note seems to have been put there by a disciple of 
Spinoza, and speaks of the Treatise as having been dictated, 
while the text says that it was written. Very likely a good 
portion of the Treatise had actually been dictated to his 
friends while Spinoza was at Amsterdam, but the com 
pleted Treatise must have been sent to them in manuscript 
from Rijnsburg. 

Avenarius has suggested that the Short Treatise was quite 
a youthful work ; that the Dialogues were written about 
1651, and the main text in 1654 or 1655. The suggestion 
was largely based on the assumption that the Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus was finished in 1661 or earlier. But it 
is known now that Spinoza did not complete it till 1669 or 
1670. The comparative immaturity of the Short Treatise as 
compared with it does not therefore compel us to assume 
that the Treatise was written long before 1661. And the 
internal evidence is against such an early date as 1655. 
The tone of the concluding paragraph of Part II. shows 
that, when writing it, Spinoza had already acquired a 
certain authority in a circle of philosophical friends. He 
could not have written in that strain at the age of 22 or 23. 
Again, his reference to the " character of the age " seems to 

* See the first note on p. 149. 


point to his own excommunication as an event in the past. 
Moreover, the Treatise shows an interest in specific Christian 
doctrines and their reinterpretation (the son of God, 
Regeneration, Sin in relation to the Law, and Grace). 
Spinoza must have been moving for some time in a 
Christian environment to feel such an interest in problems 
of Christian theology. The characters he introduces as 
illustrations bear New Testament names, and he even 
devotes a chapter to Devils, in whom the Jews took very 
little interest. All this argues in favour of the supposition 
that the Short Treatise was not written till some years after 
Spinoza s severance from the Jewish community (1656). 
Freudenthal maintains, accordingly, that it must have been 
composed between 1658 and 1660. With this view we 
concur, allowing, however, that some of the additions may 
be later than 1660, while some parts of the Treatise or 
some of its views may date from before Spinoza s excom 
munication, because one of the charges already brought 
against him then was that he had asserted that extension 
was an attribute of God. 

It is interesting to note, in conclusion, that when Spinoza 
made his literary debut he was already a pantheist. His 
pantheism was not in any sense a development of Carte- 
sianism ; he started from it, and at once criticised the Car 
tesian dualism from that point of view. He probably owed his 
introduction to pantheistic views partly to Jewish mysticism, 
with which he must have been made acquainted by Rabbis 
Morteira and Ben Israel, who were both of them strongly 
inclined towards mysticism, and partly to Bruno, to whose 
writings, as already suggested, Van den Enden may have 
directed his attention. The Short Treatise shows also 
considerable familiarity with, and indebtedness to, the 
writings of Descartes, as will be shown in the Commentary. 
But Spinoza is never merely a follower of the Jewish 
Mystics, or of Bruno, or of Descartes. From the first he 


has his own peculiar outlook. From the first he is, so to 
say, his own architect, though he obtains his bricks from 
many different quarters. 



W. Meyer : Korte Verhandeling (a modern Dutch version > 
also a new edition of Boehmer s Lineamenta) . Amster 
dam, 1899. 

C. Schaarschmidt : Benedicti de Spinoza " Korte Verhandeling 
van God ..." (Dutch text and Latin introduction). 
Amsterdam, 1869. 

Spinoza s Kurzgefasste Abhandung (German translation). 
Third edition, Leipzig, 1907. 

C. Sigwart : Spinoza s Kurzer Tractat (German translation 
with Introduction and Notes). Freiburg, 1870. 

]. Van Vloten : Ad Benedicti de Spinoza Opera . . . Supple- 
mentum (Dutch text with Latin translation). Amster 
dam, 1862. 

Van Vloten and Land s edition of Spinoza s complete works 
gives the text in vol. ii. of the 1882 edition, and in 
vol. iii. of the 1895 edition. 


R. Avenarius : Ueber die beiden erst en Phasen des Spinozischen 

Pantheismus. Leipzig, 1868. 

A. Baltzer : Spinoza s Entwickelungsgang. Kiel, 1888. 
E. Boehmer : Benedicti de Spinoza Tractatus de Deo . . . 

Lineamenta. Halle, 1852. 
L. Busse : Beitriige zur Entwickelungsgeschichte Spinozas. 



J. Freudenthal : Spinoza und die Scholastik (in the " Philo- 

sophische Anfsatze" dedicated to Zeller). Leipzig, 


Spinozastudien ("Zeitschrift fiir Philosophic," vols. 

108, 109). 1896. 

Ueber die Entwicklung der Lehre vom psychophysi- 

schen Parallelismus bei Spinoza ("Archiv fiir gesamte 

Psychologic," ix.). 1907. 
C. Gebhardt : Spinozas Abhandlung ueber die Verbesserung 

des Verstandes. Heidelberg, 1905. 

M. Joel : Zur Genesis der Lehre Spinozas. Breslau, 1871. 
C. Sigwart : Spinozas neuentdeckter Tractat. Gotha, 1866. 
A. Trendelenburg : Ueber die aufgefundenen Ergdnzungen zu 

Spinozas Werken (in " Historische Beitrage," vol. iii.). 

Berlin, 1867. 

Various references to the Short Treatise occur also in the 
following more general works on the life or the philosophy 
of Spinoza : 
R. A. Duff : Spinoza s Political and Ethical Philosophy. 

Glasgow, 1903. 

K. Fischer : Spinoza. 4th ed. Heidelberg, 1898. 
J. Freudenthal : Die Lebensgeschichte Spinozas. Leipzig, 

1899. Das Leben Spinozas. Stuttgart, 1904. 
H. H. Joachim : A Study of the Ethics of Spinoza. Oxford, 


J. Martineau : A Study of Spinoza. 3rd ed. London, 1895. 
Sir F. Pollock : Spinoza. 2nd ed. London, 1899. 
E. E. Powell : Spinoza and Religion. Chicago, 1906. 
A. Rivaud : Les Notions d Essence et d E%istence dans la 

Philo sophie de Spinoza. Paris, 1906. 


A stands for the older manuscript of the Short Treatise. 

B stands for the later manuscript of the Short Treatise. 

Where nothing is stated to the contrary the Translation follows A. 

*. . .* Words, &c., between asterisks are in B, but not in A. 

[ ] Words in square brackets are those of the translator ; but 

]* When there are asterisks outside the brackets, then B 
has the words in such brackets. 

f is used as a reference-mark to notes which are given in A. 

I is used as a reference-mark to notes indicating different 
readings, &c. 

" . . . " Occasionally words are put in inverted commas to draw 
attention to the fact that they are used in a peculiar sense. 

Explanations of difficult words and passages will be found at the 
end of the volume (p. 165 ff) arranged according to chapter 
and page. 

Beginners may omit, on a first reading, most ot the foot-notes in 
the Translation. 




Previously written in the Latin tongue 
by B.D.S. for the use of his disciples 
who wanted to devote themselves to the 
study of Ethics and true Philosophy. 
And now translated into the Dutch lan 
guage for the use of the Lovers of Truth 
and Virtue : so that they who spout so 
much about it, and put their dirt and 
filth into the hands of simpletons as 
though it were ambergris, may just have 
their mouths stopped, and cease to pro 
fane what they do not understand : 
God, themselves , and how to help people 
to have regard for each other s well- 
being^ and how to heal those 
whose mind is sick, in a 
spirit of tenderness and 
tolerance, after the 
example of the Lord 
Christ, our best 

Vikfrj^Sa w^#6^oWy?\T\t Ck^<kV&Wfl 

<^$%>l*$ Hwx$y *A wGDr&H*** ^W 4 - 
s-l , " -^ 







I. OF GOD S EXISTENCE, and Attributes 

II. OF MAN, with reference to the 
character and origin of his Passions, 
the use of his reason in this respect, 
and the means whereby he is edu 
cated to his Happiness and supreme 

ALSO AN APPENDIX, containing a brief 
account of the nature of Substance 
as well as that of the human 
Soul, and its union with the Body 




OL^U-OC-e^xC.Of tAAfK_CX 

1 . V~OU\K Cf-o-cl*? v-tLj&Zl^&M _ / 

WULM-JV-tSfa y Z^L- 







II. WHAT GOD is 21 


















| B has no Table of Contents 







V. ON LOVE 78 






















(^/l t^n--Oi-,-i/i_-cLe. 

A ~ f 

c*Z/JtjCJZ~ i 





Cm natujra,Deus,rerum ciu cog-mtus ordo 
Hoc Spinola ftalru coiifpicieiidus erat. 

Expreflere viri faciein.ietl pm^ere mentetn 
Zettxidis artifices non valwere itianvis. 

Ilia vi^ei Tcnplis : illic luDlimia tractat: 
Huiicquicun^uecupis nofcere.fci-ipta leg-e . 



* - ^11 

CM^OA-t-ic *, *V<-vY/7 >^r/ kfltlieSl H>4 * 



"tCo-UlMLJkM-- <*sy e-e-TC TMjut 



As regards the first,! namely, whether there is a God, this, 
we say, can be proved. 

*!.* In the first place, a priori thus : 

1. Whatever we clearly and distinctly know to 

belong to the nature t of a thing, we can also 
truly affirm of that thing. Now we can know 
clearly and distinctly that existence belongs 
to the nature of God ; 10 

Therefore . . . 
Otherwise also thus : tt 

2. The essence of things are from all eternity, 

and unto all eternity shall remain im 
mutable ; 

The existence of God is essence ; 
Therefore . . . 

t Understand the definite nature through which a thing is what 
it is, and which can by no means be removed from it without 
at the same time destroying that thing : thus, for instance, it 20 
belongs to the essence of a mountain that it should have a 
valley, or the essence of a mountain is that it has a valley ; JJ| 
this is truly eternal and immutable, and must always be included 
in the concept of a mountain, even if it never existed, or did not 
exist now. 

t B: this. 

It B omits these three words. 

JJt B simply: to the essence of a mountain belongs a valley. 



i *IL* A posteriori, thus : 

If man has an idea of God, then God f must exist 
formaliter ; 

Now, man has an idea of God ; 
Therefore . . . 

The first we prove thus : 

If there is an idea of God, then the cause thereof 
must exist formaliter, and contain in itself all 
that the idea has objective ; 
10 Now there is an idea of God ; 

Therefore . . . 

In order to prove the first part of this argument we state 
the following principles, namely : 

1. That the number of knowable things is in 

finite ; 

2. That a finite understanding cannot apprehend 

the infinite ; 

3. That a finite understanding, unless it is deter 

mined by something external, cannot through 

20 itself know anything ; because, just as it has 

no power to know all things equally, so little 

f From the definition which follows in chapter 2, namely, that 
God has infinite attributes, we can prove his existence thus : 
Whatever we clearly and distinctly see to belong to the nature of 
a thing, that we can also with truth affirm of that thing ; now to 
the nature of a being that has infinite attributes belongs existence, 
which is an attribute ; therefore . . . To assert that this may well 
be affirmed of the idea, but not of the thing itself, is false : for the 
Idea does not really consist of the attribute which belongs to this 
30 being, so that that which is affirmed is [affirmed] neither of the 
thing, nor of that which is affirmed of the thing ; so that there is a 
great difference between the Idea and the Ideatum : therefore 
what is affirmed of the thing is not affirmed of the Idea, and 
vice versa. [Text corrupt. See Commentary.] 


also has it the power to begin or to commence i 
to know this, for instance,! sooner than that, 
or that sooner than this. Since, then, it can 
do neither the one nor the other it can know 
The first (or the major premiss) is proved thus : 

If the imagination of man were the sole cause of 
his ideas, then it would be impossible that he 
should be able to apprehend anything, but he 
can apprehend something ; 10 

Therefore . . . 

The first Jt is proved by the first principle, namely, that 
the knowable things are infinitely numerous. Also, following 
the second principle, man cannot know all, because the 
human understanding is finite, and if not determined by 
external things to know this sooner than that, and that 
sooner than this, then according to the third principle it 
should be impossible for it to know anything.! 

J B omits " for instance." 

Jt Instead of this paragraph B has the following : Again, since 20 
according to the first principle the knowable things are infinite, and 
according to the second principle the finite understanding cannot 
comprehend everything, and according to the third principle it has 
not the power to know this sooner than that, and that sooner than 
this, it would be impossible for it to know anything, if it were not 
determined thereto by external things. 

t Further, to say that this idea is a fiction, this also is false : for 
it is impossible to have this [idea] if it [the ideatum\ does not exist ; 
this is shown on page 16, and we also add the following : 

It is quite true that when an idea has first come to us from a 30 
particular thing, and we have generalised it in abstracto, then our 
understanding may fancy various things about it, and we can add 
to it many other attributes abstracted from other things. But it is 
impossible to do this without a prior knowledge of the things them 
selves from which these abstractions have been made. Once, how 
ever, it is assumed that this idea [of God] is a fiction, then all other 


i From all this the second point is proved, namely, that 
the cause of a man s ideas is not his imagination but 
some external cause, which compels him to apprehend one 
thing sooner than another, and it is no other than this, that 
the things whose essentia objectiva is in his understanding 
exist formaliter, and are nearer to him than other things. 
If, then, man has the idea of God, it is clear that God 
must exist formaliter, though not eminenter, as there is 

ideas that we have must be fictions no less. If this is so, whence 
10 comes it that we find such a great difference among them ? For as 
regards some we see that it is impossible they should exist ; e.g., all 
monsters supposed to be composed of two natures, such as an 
animal that should be both a bird and a horse, and the like, for 
which it is impossible to have a place in Nature, which we find 
differently constituted ; J other ideas may, but need not, exist ; 
whether, however, they exist or do not exist, their essence is always 
necessary ; such is the idea of a triangle, and that of the love in the 
soul apart from the body, &c. ; so that even if I at first thought 
that I had imagined these, I am nevertheless compelled afterwards 
20 to say that they are, and would be, the same no less even if neither 
I nor anybody had ever thought about them. They are, conse 
quently, not merely imagined by me, and must also have outside 
me a subjectum other than myself, without which subjectum they 
cannot be. In addition to these there is yet a third idea, and it is 
an only one ; this one carries with it necessary existence, and not, 
like the foregoing, the mere possibility of existence : for, in the 
case of those, their essence was indeed necessary, but not their 
existence, while in its case, both its existence and its essence are 
necessary, and it is nothing without them. I therefore see now 
3 that the truth, essence, or existence of anything never depends on 
me : for, as was shown with reference to the second kind of ideas, 
they are what they are independently of me, whether as regards 
their essence alone, or as regards both essence and existence. I 
find this to be true also, indeed much more so, of this third unique 

J In B the whole of this first part of the note is given in the body of 
the text, while the rest is given as a note on " other ideas," eight lines 


nothing more real or more excellent beside or outside him. r 
Now, that man has the idea of God, this is clear, because he 
knows his attributes,! which attributes cannot be derived 
from [man] himself, because he is imperfect. And that he 
knows these attributes is evident from this, namely, that he 
knows that the infinite cannot be obtained by putting together 
divers finite parts ; that there cannot be two t infinites, but 

idea ; not only does it not depend on me, but, on the contrary, he 
alone tt must be the subjectum of that which I affirm of him. Con 
sequently, if he did not exist, I should not be able to assert anything 10 
at all about him ; although this can be done in the case of other 
things, even when they do not exist. He must also be, indeed, the 
subjectum of all other things. 

From what has been said so far it is clearly manifest that the idea 
of infinite attributes in the perfect being is no fiction ; we shall, 
however, still add the following : 

According to the foregoing consideration of Nature, we have so 
far not been able to discover more than two attributes only which 
belong to this all-perfect being. And these give us nothing adequate 
to satisfy us that this is all of which this perfect being consists, 20 
quite the contrary, we find in us a something which openly tells us 
not only of more, but of infinite perfect attributes, which must 
belong to this perfect being before he can be said to be perfect. 
And whence comes this idea of perfection ? This something cannot 
be the outcome of these two [attributes] : tor two can only yield 
two, and not an infinity. Whence then ? From myself, never ; 
else I must be able to give what I did not possess. Whence, then, 
but from the infinite attributes themselves which tell us that they 
are, without however telling us, at the same time, what they are : 
for only of two do we know what they are. 30 

t His attributes ; it is better [to say], because he knows what is 
proper to God ; for these things [infinity, perfection, &c.] are no 
attributes of God. Without these, indeed, God could not be God, 
but it is not through them [that he is God], since they show nothing 
substantial, but are only like adjectives which require substantives 
or their explanation. 

I B omits " two." 

tt B omits "alone." 


i only one ; that it is perfect and immutable, for we know 
that nothing seeks, of itself, its own annihilation, and also 
that it cannot change into anything better,t because it is 
perfect, which it would not be in that case, or also that such 
a being cannot be subjected to anything outside it, since it 
is omnipotent, and so forth. 

From all this, then, it follows clearly that we can prove 
both a priori and a posteriori that God exists. Better, in 
deed, a priori. For things which are proved in the latter 
10 way [a posteriori] must be proved through their external 
causes, which is a manifest imperfection t in them, inas 
much as they cannot make themselves known H through 
themselves, but only through external causes. God, how 
ever, who is the first cause of all things, and also the cause 
of himself [causa sui~\, makes himself known through him 
self. Hence one need not attach much importance to the 
saying of Thomas Aquinas, namely, that God could not be 
proved a priori because he, forsooth, has no cause. 

f The cause of this change would have to be either outside, or 
20 in it. It cannot be outside, because no substance which, like this, 
exists through itself depends on anything outside it ; therefore it is 
not subject to change through it. Nor can it be in it : because no 
thing, much less this, desires its own undoing all undoing comes 
from outside. *Again, that there can be no finite substance is 
clear from this, because in that case it would necessarily have to 
have something which it had from nothing : which is impossible ; 
for whence has it that wherein it differs from God ? Certainly not 
from God ; for he has nothing imperfect or finite, &c. : whence, 
therefore, but from nothing ? * 
30 J B : an extreme imperfection. 
Jt B omits " known." 



Now that we have proved above that God is, it is time to 
show what he is. Namely, we say that he is a being of 
whom all or infinite attributes are predicated,^ of which attri 
butes every one is infinitely perfect in its kind. Now, in order 
to express our views clearly, we shall premise the four 
following propositions : 

i. That there is no finite substance, tt but that every 
substance must be infinitely perfect in its kind, that is to 10 
say, that in the infinite understanding of God no substance 
can be more perfect than that which already exists in 

t The reason is this, since Nothing can have no attributes, the 
All must have all attributes ; and just as Nothing has no attribute 
because it is Nothing, so that which is Something has attributes 
because it is Something. Hence, the more it is Something, the 
more attributes it must have, and consequently God being the 
most perfect, and all that is Anything, he must also have infinite, 
perfect, and all attributes. 

ft Once we can prove that there can be no Finite Substance^ 
then zK substance must without limitation belong to the divine 
being. We do it thus : i . It must either have limited itself or J 
some other must have limited it. It could not have done so itself, 
because having been infinite it would have had to change its whole 
essence. Nor can it be limited by another : for this again must be 
either finite or infinite ; the former is impossible, therefore the 
latter; therefore it [i.e., the other thing] is God. He must, then, 
have made it finite because he lacked either the power or the will 
[to make it infinite] : but the first [supposition] is contrary to his 30 

J B inserts here 2. 



i 2. That there are not two like substances. 

3. That one substance cannot produce another. 

4. That in the infinite understanding of God there 
is no other substance than that which is formaliter in 

As regards the first, namely, that there is no finite sub 
stance, &c., should any one want to maintain the opposite, 
we would ask the following question, namely, whether this 
substance is finite through itself, whether it has made 
10 itself thus finite and did not want to make itself less finite ; 
or whether it is thus finite through its cause, which cause 

omnipotence, the second is contrary to his goodness. J 2. That 
there can be no finite substance is clear from this, namely, that, if 
so, it would necessarily have something which it would have from 
Nothing, which is impossible. For whence can it derive that 
wherein it differs from God ? Certainly not from God, for he has 
nothing imperfect or finite, c. So, whence then but from 
Nothing? Therefore there is no substance other than infinite. 
Whence it follows, that there cannot be two like infinite sub- 

20 stances ; for to posit such necessitates limitation. And from this, 
again, it follows that one substance cannot produce another ; thus : 
The cause that we might suppose to produce this substance must 
have the same attribute J J as the one produced, and also either just 
as much perfection JJJ or more or less. The first supposition is 
not possible, because there would then be two like [substances]. 
The second also not, because in that case there would be a 
finite [substance]. Nor the third, because something cannot 
come from nothing. Moreover, if the finite Hl~t came from 
the infinite, then the infinite JJttt would also be finite, &c. 

30 Therefore one substance can not produce another. And from 
this, again, it follows that all substance must exist "formaliter" 
for if it did not exist, there would be no possibility for it to come 
into existence. 

J B omits here the next five lines, which it has already given at the 
end of the last note in the first chapter. 
H B: attributes. 
Ill B omits the seven words "and also . . . perfection." 

Hill B : the cause. 


either could not or would not give more ? The first i 
[alternative] is not true, because it is impossible that a 
substance should have wanted to make itself finite, especially 
a substance which had come into existence through itself. 
Therefore, I say, it is made finite by its cause, which is 
necessarily God. Further, if it is finite through its cause, 
this must be so either because its cause could not give 
more, or because it would not give more. That he should 
not have been able to give more would contradict his 
omnipotence ; f that he should not have been willing 10 
to give more, when he could well do so, savours of ill- 
will, which is nowise in God, who is all goodness and 

As regards the second, that there are not two like substances, 
we prove this on the ground that each substance is perfect 
in its kind ; for if there were two alike they would neces- 

f To say to this that the nature of the thing required such 
[limitation] and that it could not therefore be otherwise, that is no 
reply : for the nature of a thing can require nothing while it does 
not exist. Should you say that one may, nevertheless, see what 20 
belongs to the nature of a thing which does not exist : that is true 
as regards its existence, but by no means as regards its essence. 
And herein lies the difference between creating and generating. 
To create is to posit a thing quo ad essentiam et existentiam simul 
[i.e., to give a thing both essence and existence] ; while in the 
case of generation a thing comes forth quo ad existentiam solam 
[i.e., it only receives existence]. And therefore there is now in 
Nature no creation but only generation. So that when God 
creates he creates at once the nature of the thing with the 
thing itself. He would therefore show ill-will if (from lack of 30 
will, and not of power) he created the thing in such a way that 
it should not agree with its cause in essence and existence. 
However, what we here call creation can really not be said 
ever to have taken place, and it is only mentioned to indicate 
what we can say about it, if we distinguish between creating and 


i sarily limit one another, and would consequently not be 
infinite, as we t have already shown before. 

As to the third, namely, that one substance cannot produce 
another : should any one again maintain the opposite, we 
ask whether the cause, which is supposed to produce this 
substance, has or has not the same attributes as the 
produced [substance]. The latter is impossible, because 
something cannot come from nothing; therefore the 
former. And then we ask whether in the attribute which 

10 is presumed to be the cause of this produced [substance], 
there is just as much perfection as in the produced 
substance, or less, or more. Less, we say, there cannot be, 
for the reasons * given* above. More, also not, we say, 
because in that case this second one would be finite, which 
is opposed to what has already been proved by us. Just as 
much, then ; they are therefore alike, and It are two like 
substances, which clearly conflicts with our previous 
demonstration. Further, that which is created is by 
no means produced from Nothing, but must necessarily 

20 have been produced from something existing. But that 
something should have come forth from this, and that it 
should none the less have this something even after it has 
issued from it, that we cannot grasp with our under 
standing. Lastly, if we would seek the cause of the 
substance which is the origin of the things which issue 
from its attribute, then it behoves us to seek also the cause 
of that cause, and then again the cause of that cause, et 
sic in infmitum ; so that if we must necessarily stop and 
halt somewhere, as indeed we must, it is necessary to stop 

30 at this only substance. 

As regards the fourth, that there is no substance or attribute 

in the infinite understanding of God other than what exists 

" formaliter" in Nature, this can be, and is, proved by us : 

(i) from the infinite power of God, since in him there can 

I B : I. tJ B has " or," and omits " are." 


be no cause by which he might have been induced to i 
create one sooner or more than another ; (2) from the 
simplicity of his will ; (3) because he cannot omit to do 
what is good, as we shall show afterwards ; (4) because 
it would be impossible for that which does not now exist 
to come into existence, since one substance cannot produce 
another. And, what is more, in that case there would be 
more infinite substances not in existence than there are in 
existence, which is absurd, t From all this it follows then : 
that of Nature all in all is predicated, and that consequently 10 
Nature consists of infinite attributes, each of which is perfect 
in its kind. And this is just equivalent to the definition 
usually given of God. 

Against what we have just said, namely, that there is no 
thing in the infinite understanding of God but what exists 
formaliter in Nature, some want to argue in this way : If 
God has created all, then he can create nothing more ; but 
that he should be able to create nothing more conflicts with 
his omnipotence ; therefore . . . 

Concerning the first, we admit that God can create 20 
nothing more. And with regard to the second, we say 
that we own, if God were not able to create all that could 
be created, then it would conflict with his omnipotence ; 
but that is by no means the case if he cannot create what is 
self-contradictory ; as it is, to say that he has created all, and 
also that he should be able to create still more. Assuredly 
it is a far greater perfection in God that he has created 
all that was in his infinite understanding than if he had 
not created it, or, as they say, if he had never been able to 
create it. But why say so much about it ? Do they not 30 
themselves argue thus, t or must they not argue thus 

t B omits this sentence. 

f That is, whenever we make them argue from this admis 
sion, namely, that God is omniscient, then they cannot but argue 


i * from God s omniscience* : If God is omniscient then he 
can know nothing more ; but that God can know nothing 
more is incompatible with his perfection ; therefore . . . ? 
But if God has all in his understanding, and, owing to his 
infinite perfection, can know nothing more, well then, why 
can we not say that he has also created all that he had in 
his understanding, and has made it so that it exists or 
should exist formatter in Nature ? 

Since, then, we know that all alike is in the infinite 

10 understanding of God, and that there is no cause why he 
should have created this sooner and more than that, and 
that he could have produced all things in a moment, so let 
us see, for once, whether we cannot use against them the 
same weapons which they take up against us ; namely, 

If God can never create so much that he cannot create 
more, then he can never create what he can create ; but 
that he cannot create what he can create is self-contra 
dictory. Therefore . . . 

20 Now the reasons why we said that all these attributes, 
which are in Nature, are but one single being, and by no 
means different things (although we can know them clearly 
and distinctly the one without the other, and the other 
without another), are these : 

1. Because we have found already before that there 
must be an infinite and perfect being, by which nothing 
else can be meant than such a being of which all in all 
must be predicated. Why ? [Because] to a being which 
has any essence attributes must be referred, and the more 

30 essence one ascribes to it, the more attributes also must 
one ascribe to it, and consequently if a being is infinite 
then its attributes also must be infinite, and this is just 
what we call a perfect J being. 

2. Because of the unity which we see everywhere in 

B : an infinite. 


Nature. If there were different beings in it t then it would i 
be impossible for them to unite with one another. 

3. Because although, as we have already seen, one 
substance cannot produce another, and if a substance does 
not exist it is impossible for it to begin to exist, we see, 
nevertheless, that in no substance (which we none the less 
know to exist in Nature), when considered separately, is 
there any necessity to be real, since existence does not 
pertain to its separate essence. ft So it must necessarily 
follow that Nature, which results from no causes, and 10 
which we nevertheless know to exist, must necessarily be a 
perfect being to which existence belongs. 

From all that we have so far said it is evident, then, that 
we posit extension as an attribute of God ; and this seems 
not at all appropriate to a perfect being : for since exten 
sion is divisible, the perfect being would have to consist of 
parts, and this is altogether inapplicable to God, because 

f That is, if there were different substances which were not 
connected in one only being, then their union would be impossible, 
because we see clearly that they have nothing at all in common, it 20 
is so with thought and extension of which we nevertheless consist. 

ft That is, if no substance can be other than real, and yet 
existence does not follow from its essence, when it is considered 
by itself, it follows that it is not something independent, but must 
be something, that is, an attribute, of another thing, namely, the 
one, only, and universal being. Or thus : All substance is real, and 
when a substance is considered by itself its existence does not 
follow from its essence ; therefore, no existing substance can be 
known through itself, but it must belong to something else. That 
is, when with our understanding we consider " substantial " Thought 30 
and ["substantial"] Extension, then we consider them only in their 
essence and not as existing, that is [we do not consider] that their 
existence necessarily pertains to their essence. When, however, we 
prove [of each] that it is an attribute of God, we thereby prove a 
priori that it exists, and a posteriori (as regards extension alone) 
[we prove its existence] from the modes which must necessarily 
have it for their subjectum. 


i he is a simple being. Moreover, when extension is divided 
it is passive, and with God (who is never passive, and 
cannot be affected by any other being, because he is the 
first efficient cause of all) this can by no means be the case. 
To this we reply : (i) that "part" and "whole" are not 
true or real entities, but only "things of reason," and 
consequently there are in Nature t neither whole nor parts. 
(2) A thing composed of different parts must be such that 
the parts thereof, taken separately, can be conceived and 
10 understood one without another. Take, for instance, a 
clock which is composed of many different wheels, cords, 
and other things ; in it, I say, each wheel, cord, &c., can be 

f In Nature, that is, in " substantial " Extension; for if this were 
divided its nature and being would be at once annihilated, as it exists 
only as infinite extension, or, which comes to the same, it exists 
only as a whole. 

But should you say : is there, in extension, no part prior to all 
its modes ? I say, certainly not. But you may say, since there is 
motion in matter, it must be in some part of matter, for it cannot 

20 be in the whole, because this is infinite ; and whither shall it be 
moved, when there is nothing outside it ? Therefore it must be in 
a part.J My answer is : Motion alone does not exist, but only 
motion and rest together ; and this is in the whole, and must be in 
it, because there is no part in extension. Should you, however, 
say that there is, then tell me : if you divide the whole of extension 
then, as regards any part which you cut off from it in thought, can you 
also separate it in nature from all [other] parts ; and supposing this 
has been done, I ask, what is there between the part cut offtJ and 
the rest ? You must say, a vacuum, or another body, or something 

30 of extension itself; there is no fourth possibility. The first will not 
do, because there is no vacuum, something positive and yet no 
body ; nor the second, because then there would exist a mode, 
which cannot be, since JJJ extension as extension is without and 
prior to all modes. Therefore the third ; and then there is no part 
but only the whole of extension. 

J B omits this sentence. H B: separated. 

HI B : therefore. HI J B : but extension one and indivisible. 


conceived and understood separately, without the com- i 
posite whole being necessary thereto. Similarly also in the 
case of water, which consists of straight oblong particles, 
each part thereof can be conceived and understood, and 
can exist without the whole ; but extension, being a sub 
stance, one cannot say of it that it has parts, since it can 
neither diminish nor increase, and no parts thereof can be 
understood apart, because by its nature it must be infinite. 
And that it must be such, follows from this, namely, because 
if it were not such, but consisted of parts, then it would not icr 
be infinite by its nature, as it is said to be ; and it is 
impossible to conceive parts in an infinite nature, since by 
their nature all parts are finite. t Add to this still : if it 
consisted of different parts then it should be intelligible 
that supposing some parts thereof to be annihilated, exten- 
tion might remain all the same, and not be annihilated 
together with the annihilation of some of its parts ; this is 
clearly contradictory in what is infinite by its own nature 
and can never be, or be conceived, as limited or finite. 
Further, as regards the parts in Nature, we maintain that 20 
division, as has also been said already before, never takes place 
in substance, but always and only in the mode of substance. 
Thus, if I want to divide water, I only divide the mode of 
substance, and not substance itself. And whether this mode 
is that of water or something else it is always the 

Division, then, or passivity, always takes place in the 
mode ; thus when we say that man passes away or is 
annihilated, then this is understood to apply to man only in 
so far as he is such a composite being, and a mode of sub 
stance, and not the substance on which he depends. 30 

J B : because all the parts would have to be infinite by their 

tt B : when, therefore, I divide water I do not divide the sub 
stance, but only that mode of the substance, which substance, 
however variously modified, is always the same. 



* Moreover, we have already stated, and we shall repeat it 
Inter, that outside God there is nothing at all, and that he is 
an Immanent Cause. Now, passivity, whenever the agent 
and the patient are different entities, is a palpable imperfec 
tion, because the patient must necessarily be dependent on 
that which has caused the passivity from outside ; it has, 
therefore, no place in God, who is perfect, Furthermore, 
of such an agent who acts in himself it can never be said 
that he has the imperfection of a patient, because he is not 

10 affected by another ; such, for instance, is the case with the 
understanding, which, as the philosophers also assert, is the 
cause of its ideas, since, however, it is an immanent cause, 
what right has one to say that it is imperfect, howsoever 
frequently it is affected by itself ? t Lastly, since substance 
is [the cause] and the origin of all its modes, it may with 
far greater right be called an agent than a patient. And 
with these remarks we consider all adequately answered. 

It is further objected, that there must necessarily be a 
first cause which sets body in motion, because when at rest 

20 it is impossible for it to set itself in motion. And since it 
is clearly manifest that rest and motion exist in Nature, 
these must, they think, necessarily result from an external 
cause. But it is easy for us to reply to this ; for we concede 
that, if body were a thing existing through itself, and had no 
other attributes than length, breadth, and depth, then, if it 
really rested there would be in it no cause whereby to begin 
to move itself ; but we have already stated before that 
Nature is a being of which all attributes are predicated, and 
this being so, it can be lacking in nothing wherewith to 

30 produce all that there is to be produced. 

Having so far discussed what God is, we shall say but 
a word, as it were, about his attributes : that those which 
are known to us consist of two only, namely, Thought and 

I B : And although the understanding, as the philosophers say, 
is a cause of its ideas, yet, since it is an immanent cause, &c. 


Extension ; for here we speak only of attributes which i 
might be called the proper attributes of God,! through 
which we come to know him [as he is] in himself, and not 
[merely] as he acts [towards things] outside himself. All 
else, then, that men ascribe to God beyond these two 
attributes, all that (if it otherwise pertains to him) must be 
either an " extraneous denomination," such as that he exists 
through himself, is Eternal, One, Immutable, &c., or, I say, has 
reference to his activity, such as that he is a cause, predes 
tines, and rules all things : all which are properties of God, 10 
but give us no information as to what he is. But how and in 
what manner these attributes can nevertheless have a place in 
God we shall explain in the following chapters. But, for 
the better understanding of this !! and in further exposition 
thereof,!!! we have thought it well * and have decided * to 
add the following arguments consisting of a [Dialogue.] 

! B : which may truly be called God s attributes. 

!! B : of the foregoing. !!! B : of what we mean to say. 



LOVE. I see, Brother, that both my essence and perfection 
depend on your perfection ; and since the perfection of the 
object which you have conceived is your perfection, while 
from yours again mine proceeds, so tell me now, I pray you, 
whether you have conceived such a being as is supremely 
perfect, not capable of being limited by any other, and in 

10 which I also am comprehended. 

UNDERSTANDING. I for my part consider Nature only 
in its totality as infinite, and supremely perfect, but you, 
if you have any doubts about it, ask Reason, she will 
tell you. 

REASON. To me the truth of the matter is indubitable, for 
if we would limit Nature then we should, absurdly enough, 
have to limit it with a mere Nothing ; I we avoid this absurdity 
by stating that it is OneEternal Unity, infinite, omnipotent, &c., 
that is, that Nature is infinite and that all is contained 

20 therein ; and the negative of this we call Nothing. 

DESIRE. Ah indeed ! it is wondrously congruous to sup 
pose that Unity is in keeping with the Difference which I 
observe everywhere in Nature. But how ? I see that think 
ing substance has nothing in common with extended sub 
stance, and that the one limits [not] the other ; and if, in addi 
tion to these substances, you want to posit yet a third one 
which is perfect in all respects, then look how you involve 

J A and B continue : moreover under the following attributes, 
namely, that it is One, Eternal, infinite through itself ; we 
30 avoid . . . 



yourself in manifest contradictions ; for if this third one is i 
placed outside the first two, then it is wanting in all the 
attributes which belong to those two, but this can never be 
the case with a whole outside of which there is nothing. 
Moreover if this being is omnipotent and perfect, then it must 
be such because it has made itself, and not because another 
has made it ; that, however, which could produce both itself 
and yet another besides would be even more omnipotent. 
And lastly, if you call it omniscient then it is necessary that 
it should know itself ; and, at the same time, you must know 10 
that the knowledge of oneself alone is less than the know 
ledge of oneself together with the knowledge of other sub 
stances. All these are manifest contradictions. I would, 
therefore, have advised Love to rest content with what I show 
her, and to look about for no other things. 

LOVE. What now, O dishonourable one, have you shown 
me but what would result in my immediate ruin. For, if I 
had ever united myself with what you have shown me, then 
from that moment I should have been persecuted by the 
two archenemies of the human race, namely, Hatred and 20 
Remorse, and sometimes also by Oblivion ; and therefore I 
turn again to Reason only to proceed and stop the mouths 
of these foes. 

REASON. What you say, O Desire, that there are different 
substances, that, I tell you, is false ; for I see clearly that 
there is but One, which exists through itself, and is a support to 
all other attributes. And if you will refer to the material and 
the mental as substances, in relation to the modes which are 
dependent on them, why then, you must also call them 
modes in relation to the substance t on which they depend : 3 
for they are not conceived by you as existing through them 
selves. And in the same way that willing, feeling, under 
standing, loving, &c., are different modes of that which you 
call a thinking substance, in which you bring together and 
t A : substances ; B : substance. 


i unite all these in one, t so I also conclude, from your own 
proofs, that Both Infinite Extension and Thought together with 
all other infinite attributes (or, according to your usage, other 
substances) are only modes of the One, Eternal, Infinite Being, 
who exists through himself ; and from all these we posit, as 
stated, An Only One or a Unity outside which nothing can be 
imagined to be. J} 

DESIRE. Methinks I see a very great confusion in this argu 
ment of yours ; for, it seems you will have it that the whole 

10 must be something outside of or apart from its parts, which is 
truly absurd. For all philosophers are unanimous in saying 
that " whole " is a second notion, and that it is nothing in 
Nature apart from human thought. Moreover, as I gather 
from your example, you confuse whole with cause : for, as I 
say, the whole only consists of and [exists] through its parts, 
and so it comes that you represent the thinking power as a 
thing on which the Understanding, Love, &c., depend. But 
you cannot call it a Whole, only a Cause of the Effects just 
named by you. 

20 REASON. I see decidedly how you muster all your friends 
against me, and that, after the method usually adopted by 
those who oppose the truth, you are designing to achieve by 
quibbling what you have not been able to accomplish with 
your fallacious reasoning. But you will not succeed in 
winning Love to your side by such means. Your assertion, 
then, is, that the cause (since it is the Originator of the effects) 
must therefore be outside these. But you say this because 
you only know of the transeunt and not of the immanent 
cause, which by no means produces anything outside itself, 

30 as is exemplified by the Understanding, which is the cause 
of its ideas. And that is why I called the understanding 

% A : all which you bring to one, and make one from all these ; 
B : to which you bring all and make them into one. 

It B : . . . One, Eternal, self-subsisting Being in which all is one 
and united, and outside which unity nothing can be imagined to be. 


(in so far as, or because, its ideas depend on it J) a cause ; 
and on the other hand, since it consists of its ideas, a whole : 
so also God is both an Immanent Cause with reference to his 
works or creatures, and also a whole, considered from the second 
point of view. 

I So in B. A : it depends on its ideas. 





ERASMUS. I have heard you say, Theophilus, that God is 
a cause of all things, and, at the same time, that he can be 
no other than an Immanent cause. Now, if he is znimmanent 
cause of all things, how then can you call him a remote I 

10 cause ? For, that is impossible in the case of an Immanent 

THEOPHILUS. When I said that God is a remote t cause, I 
only said it with reference to the things [which God has 
produced mediately, and not with reference to those] which 
God (without any other conditions beyond his mere exist 
ence) has produced immediately ; but on no account did 
I mean to call him a remote! cause absolutely: as you 
might also have clearly gathered from my remarks. For, 
I also said that in some respects we can call him a remote 

20 cause. 

ERASMUS. I understand now adequately what you want 
to say ; but I note also that you have said, that the effect of 
the It immanent cause remains united with its cause in such 
a way that together they constitute a whole. Now, if this is 
so, then, methinks, God cannot be an immanent cause. 
For, if he and that which is produced by him together form 
a whole, then you ascribe to God at one time more essence 
than at another time. I pray you, remove these doubts 
for me. 

30 JB: prior. H B : an. 



THEOPHILUS. If, Erasmus, you want to extricate yourself i 
from this confusion, then mark well what I am going to tell 
you now. The essence of a thing does not increase through 
its union with another thing with which it constitutes a 
whole ; on the contrary, the first remains unchanged. I will 
give you an illustration, so that you may understand me the 
better. An image-carver has made from wood various forms 
after the likeness of the parts of the human body ; he takes 
one of these, which has the form of a human breast, joins it 
to another, which has the form of a human head, and of 10 
these two he makes a whole, which represents the upper part 
of a human body ; would you therefore say that the essence 
of the head has increased because it has been joined to the 
breast ? That would be erroneous, because it is the same 
that it was before. For the sake of greater clearness let me 
give you another illustration, namely, an idea that I have of 
a triangle, and another resulting from an extension of one 
of the angles, which extended or extending angle is neces 
sarily equal to the two interior opposite angles, and so forth. 
These, I say, have produced a new idea, namely, that the 20 
three angles of the triangle are equal to two right angles. 
This idea is so connected with the first, that it can neither 
be, nor be conceived without the same.t Mark well now 
that although the new idea is joined to the preceding one, 
the essence of the preceding idea does not undergo any 
change in consequence ; on the contrary, it remains without 
the slightest change. The same you may also observe in 
every idea which produces love in itself : this love in no way 
adds to the essence of the idea. But why multiply illustra 
tions ? since you can see it clearly in the subject which I 30 
have been illustrating and which we are discussing now. I 
have distinctly stated that all attributes, which depend on no 

t A continues : And of all ideas which any one has we make a 
whole, or (which is the same) a thing of reason, which we call 


other cause, and whose definition requires no genus pertain 
to the essence of God ; and since the created things are not 
competent to establish an attribute, they do not increase the 
essence of God, however intimately they become united to 
him. Add to this, that "whole" is but a thing of Reason, 
and does not differ from the general except in this alone that 
the general results from various Disconnected individuals, the 
Whole, from various United individuals ; also in this, that 
the General only comprises parts of the same kind, but the 

10 Whole, parts both the same and different in kind. I 

ERASMUS. So far as this is concerned you have satisfied 
me. But, in addition to this, you have also said, that the 
effect of the II inner cause cannot perish so long as its cause 
lasts ; this, I well see, is certainly true, but III if this is so, 
then how can God be an inner cause of all things, seeing 
that many things perish ? After your previous distinction 
you will say, that God is really a cause of the effects which he 
has produced immediately, without any other conditions except 
his attributes alone ; and, that these cannot perish so long as 

20 their cause endures ; but that you do not call God an inner cause 
of the effects whose existence does not depend on him imme 
diately, but which have come into being through some other 
thing, except in so far as their causes do not operate, and can 
not operate, without God, nor also outside him^lll and that for 
this reason also, since they are not produced immediately 
by God, they can perish. But this does not satisfy me. 
For I see that you conclude, that the human understanding 
is immortal, because it is a product which God has pro 
duced in himself. Now it is impossible that more than the 

30 I B : . . . the general results from various unconnected indi 
viduals of the same kind ; but the whole from various connected 
individuals different as well as the same in kind. 

U B : an. 

HI B : this, I see, is not true, because if ... 

llll B : without and outside him. 


attributes of God should have been necessary in order to i 
produce such an understanding ; for, in order to be a being 
of such supreme perfection, it must have been created from 
eternity, just like all other things which depend imme 
diately on God. And I have heard you say so, if I am not 
mistaken. And this being so, how will you reconcile J 
this without leaving over any difficulties ? 

THEOPHILUS. It is true, Erasmus, that the things (for the 
existence of which no other thing is required, except the 
attributes of God) which have been created immediately by 10 
him have been created from eternity. It is to be remarked, 
however, that although in order that a thing may exist 
there is required a special modification and tt a thing beside 
the attributes of God, for all that, God does not cease to be 
able to produce a thing immediately. For, of the necessary 
things which are required to bring things Jtt into existence, 
some are there in order that they should produce the thing, 
and others in order that the thing should be capable of being 
produced. For example, I want to have light in a certain 
room ; I kindle a light, and this lights up the room through 20 
itself ; or I open a window [shutter], now this act of opening 
does not itself give light, but still it brings it about that the 
light can enter the room.Jttt Likewise in order to set a 
body in motion another body is required that shall have all 
the motion that is to pass from it to the other. But in 
order to produce in us an idea of God there is no need for 
another special thing that shall have what is to be produced 
in us, but only such a body in Nature whose idea is neces 
sary in order to represent God immediately. This you 

t B : explain. 30 

II B : of. HI B : a thing. 

tilt B : I kindle this [light], or I open a window, whereupon the 
room becomes light ; now the act of kindling, or of opening the room 
does not produce the light, but prepares the way for the light to be 
able to light up the room, or to enter it. 


i could also have gathered from my remarks : for I said that 
God is only known through himself, and not through 
something else. However, I tell you this, that so long as 
we have not such a clear idea of God as shall unite us 
with him in such a way that it will not let us love any 
thing beside him, we cannot truly say that we are united 
with God, so as to depend immediately on him. If there is 
still anything that you may have to ask, leave it for another 
time ; just now circumstances require me to attend to other 

10 matters. Farewell. 

ERASMUS. Nothing at present, but I shall ponder what 
you have just told me till the next opportunity. God be 
with you. 



WE shall now begin to consider those attributes [of God] 
which we called Propria. f And, first of all, how God * s a 
cause of all things. 

Now, we have already said above that one substance can 
not produce another ; and that God is a being of whom all 
attributes are predicated; whence it clearly follows that all 
other things can by no means be, or be understood, apart 
from or outside him. Wherefore we may say with all 10 
reason that God is a cause of all things. 

As it is usual to divide the efficient cause in eight 
divisions, let me, then, inquire how and in what sense God 
is a cause. 

First, then, we say that he is an emanative or productive cause 
of his works ; and, in so far as there is activity, an active or 
operating cause, which we regard as one and the same, 
because they involve each other. 

Secondly, he is an immanent, and not a transeunt cause, 
since all that he produces is within himself, and not outside 20 
him, because there is nothing outside him. 

Thirdly, God is a free cause, and not a natural cause, as 
we shall make clear and manifest when we come to consider 
whether God can omit to do what he does, and then it will also 
be explained wherein true freedom consists. 

t The [attributes] following are called Propria, because they are 
only Adjectives, which cannot be understood without their Substan 
tives. That is to say, without them God would indeed be no God, 
but still it is not they that constitute God ; for they reveal nothing of 
the character of a Substance, through which alone God exists. 30 


i Fourthly, God is a cause through himself, and not by 
accident ; this will become more evident from the discussion 
on Predestination. 

Fifthly, God is a principal cause of his works which he has 
created immediately, such as movement in matter, &c. ; in 
which there is no place for a subsidiary [instrumental] 
cause, since this is confined to particular things ; as when 
he dries the sea by means of a strong wind, and so forth in 
the case of all particular things t in Nature. 
10 The subsidiary provoking cause is not [found] in God, 
because there is nothing outside him to incite him. The 
predisposing It cause, on the other hand, is his perfection 
itself ; through it he is a cause of himself, and, consequently, 
of all other things. 

Sixthly, God alone is the first or Initial cause, as is evident 
from our foregoing proof. 

Seventhly, God is also a Universal cause, but only in so 
far as he produces various things ; otherwise this can 
never be predicated of him, as he needs no one in order 
20 to produce any results. 

Eighthly, God is the proximate cause of the things that 
are infinite, and immutable, and which we assert to have 
been created immediately by him, but, in one sense, he is 
the remote cause of all particular things. 

J B omits the semi-colon before " as," in the preceding line, and 
gives the words " as when . . . particular things " in a note, instead 
of in the text. 

tt A and B : voorgaande. 



WE deny that God can omit to do what he does, and we shall 
also prove it when we treat of Predestination ; when we will 
show that all things necessarily depend on their causes. But, 
in the second place, this conclusion also follows from the 
perfection of God ; for it is true, beyond a doubt, that God 
can make everything just as perfect as it is conceived in his 
Idea ; and just as things that are conceived by him cannot 
be conceived by him more perfectly than he conceives them, 10 
so all things can be made by him so perfect that they can 
not come from him in a more perfect condition. Again, t 
when we conclude that God could not have omitted to do 
what he has done, we deduce this from his perfection ; 
because, in God, it would be an imperfection to be able to 
omit to do what he does ; we do not, however, suppose that 
there is a subsidiary provoking cause in God that might have 
moved him to action, for then he were no God. 

But now, again, there is the controversy whether, namely, 
of all that is in his Idea, and which he can realise so 20 
perfectly, whether, I say, he could omit to realise anything, 
and whether such an omission would be a perfection in him. 
Now, we maintain that, since all that happens is done by 
God, it must therefore necessarily be predetermined by 
him, otherwise he would be mutable, which would be a great 
imperfection in him. And as this predetermination by him 
must be from eternity, in which eternity there is no before 
or after, it follows irresistibly that God could never have 
predetermined things in any other way than that in which 

I B : but. 3 o 



1 they are determined now, and have been from eternity, and 
that God could not have been either before or without these 
determinations. Further, if God should omit to do anything, 
then he must either have some cause for it, or not ; if he 
has, then it is necessary that he should omit doing it ; if he 
has not, then it is necessary that he should not omit to da 
it ; this is self-evident. Moreover, in a created thing it is a 
perfection to exist and to have been produced by God, for, 
of all imperfection, non-existence is the greatest imper- 

10 fection ; and since God desires the welfare and perfection 
of all things, it would follow that if God desired that a 
certain thing should not exist, then the welfare and perfec 
tion of this thing must be supposed to consist in its non- 
existence, which is self-contradictory. That is why we deny 
that God can omit to do what he does. Some regard this as 
blasphemy, and as a belittling of God ; but such an assertion 
results from a misapprehension of what constitutes hue 
freedom ; this is by no means what they think it is, namely, 
the ability to do or to omit to do something good or evil ; 

20 but true freedom is only, or no other than [the status of being] 
the first cause, which is in no way constrained or coerced by 
anything else, and which through its perfection alone is the 
cause of all perfection ; t consequently, if God could omit 
to do this, he would not be perfect : for the ability to omit 
doing some good, or accomplishing some perfection in 
what he does, can have no place in him, except through 
defect, tt 

That God alone is the only free cause is, therefore, clear 
not only from what has just been said, but also from this, 

30 namely, that there is no external cause outside him to force or 
constrain him ; all this is not the case with created things. 
Against this it is argued thus : The good is only good 

J B : but true freedom consists in this, that the first cause, con 
strained or coerced by nothing else, through its perfection alone is 
the cause of all perfection. JJ B : because it implies defect. 


because God wills it, and this being so, he can always bring i 
it about that evil should be good. But such reasoning is 
about as conclusive as if I said : It is because God wills to 
be God that he is God ; therefore it is in his power not to be 
God, which is absurdity itself. Furthermore, when people 
do anything, and they are asked why they do it, their answer 
is, because it is what justice demands. If the question is 
then put, why justice, or rather the first cause of all that is 
just, *makes such a demand,* then the answer must be, 
because justice wills it so. But, dear me, I think to myself, 10 
could Justice really be other than just ? By no means, for 
then it could not be Justice. Those, however, who say that 
God does all that he does because it is good in itself, these, 
I say, may possibly think that they do not differ from us. 
But that is far from being the case, since they suppose that 
there is something before God I to which he has duties or 
obligations, namely, a cause [through] which [God] desires 
that this shall be good, and, again, that that shall be just.H 
Then comes the further controversy, namely, whether 
God, supposing all things had been created by him in some 20 
other way from eternity, or had been ordered and pre 
determined to be otherwise than they now are, whether, I 
say, he would then be just as perfect *as he is now.* To 
this it may serve as an answer, that if Nature had, from all 
eternity, been made different from what it is now, then, from 
the standpoint of those who ascribe to God will and under 
standing, it would necessarily follow that God had a different 
will and a different understanding then, lit in consequence 
of which he would have made it different ; and so we should 
be compelled to think that God tttt has a different character 30 

I B : Goodness (Goed instead of God). 

It B : ... obligations, because of a desire that this shall be 
good, and that, again, just. 

: " than now " (als nu) instead of " then " (als doen). 
B omits the eleven words which follow (" has . . . and "). 



i now from what he had then, and had a different character 
then from what he has now ; so that, if we assume he 
is most perfect now, we are compelled to say that he would 
not have been so had he created all things differently. All 
these things, involving as they do palpable absurdities, can 
in no way be attributed to God, who now, in the past, and 
unto all eternity, is, has been, and will remain immutable. 
We prove this also from the definition that we have given 
of a free cause, which is not one that can do or omit to do 

10 anything, but is only such as is not dependent on anything 
else, so that whatever God does is done and carried into 
effect by him as the freest I cause. If, therefore, he had 
formerly made things different from what they are now, it 
would needs follow that he was at one time imperfect, which 
is falsest For, since God is the first cause of all things, 
there must be something in him, through which he does 
what he does, and omits not to do it. Since we say that 
Freedom does not consist in [having the choice of] doing or 
not doing something, and since we have also shown that 

20 that which makes him [God] do anything can be nothing 
else than his own perfection, we conclude that, had it not 
been that his perfection made him do all this, then the things 
would not exist, and could not come into existence, in order to 
be what they are now. This is just like saying : if God were 
imperfect then things would be different from what they are 

So much as regards the first [attribute] ; we shall now 
pass on to the second attribute, which we call a proprium 
of God, and see what we have to say about it, and so on to 

3 o the end. 

J A : wisest (alderwijste instead of aldervrijste ; corrected in B). 
JJ B omits this sentence. 



THE second attribute, which we call a proprium [of God] is 
his Providence, which to us is nothing else than the striving 
which we find in the whole of Nature and in individual 
things to maintain and preserve their own existence. For 
it is manifest that no thing could, through its own nature, 
seek its own annihilation, but, on the contrary, that every 
thing has in itself a striving to preserve its condition, and 
to improve itself. Following these definitions of ours we, 10 
therefore, posit a general and a special providence. The 
general [providence] is that through which all things are 
produced and sustained in so far as they are parts of the 
whole of Nature. The special providence is the striving of 
each thing separately to preserve its existence [each thing, 
that is to say], considered not as a part of Nature, but as a 
whole [by itself]. This is explained by the following example : 
All the limbs of man are provided for, and cared for, in so 
far as they are parts of man, this is general providence ; 
while special [providence] is the striving of each separate 20 
limb (as a whole in itself, and not as a part of man) to 
preserve and maintain its own well-being. 




THE third attribute, we say, is divine predestination. 

1. We proved before that God cannot omit to do what 
he does ; that he has, namely, made everything so perfect 
that it cannot be more perfect. 

2. And, at the same time, that without him no thing can 
be, or be conceived. 

It remains to be seen now whether there are in Nature 

10 any accidental things, that is to say, whether there are 

any things which may happen and may also not happen. 

Secondly, whether there is any thing concerning which we 

cannot ask why it is. 

Now that there are no accidental things we prove thus : 
That which has no cause to exist cannot possibly exist ; 
that which is accidental has no cause : therefore . . . 

The first is beyond all dispute ; the second we prove 

thus : If any thing that is accidental has a definite and 

certain cause why it should exist, then it must necessarily 

20 exist ; but that it should be both accidental and necessary 

at the same time, is self-contradictory ; Therefore . . . 

Perhaps some one will say, that an accidental thing has 
indeed no definite and certain cause, but an accidental 
one. If this should be so, it must be so either in sensu diviso 
or in sensu composite, that is to say, either the existence of 
the cause is accidental, and not its being a cause ; or it is 
accidental that a certain thing (which indeed must neces 
sarily exist in Nature) should be the cause of the occurrence 
of that accidental thing. However, both the one and the 
30 other are false. 



For, as regards the first, if the accidental something is i 
accidental because [the existence of] its cause is accidental, 
then that cause must also be accidental, because the cause 
which has produced it is also accidental, etsic in infinitum. 

And since it has already been proved, that all things 
depend on one single cause, this cause would therefore also 
have to be accidental : which is manifestly false. 

As regards the second : if the cause were no more com 
pelled to produce one thing than another, that is, [if the 
cause were no more compelled] to produce this something 10 
than not to produce it, then it would be impossible at once 
both that it should produce it and that it should not produce 
it, which is quite contradictory. 

Concerning the second [question raised] above, whether 
there is no thing in Nature about which one cannot ask why it 
is, this remark of ours shows that we have to inquire through 
what cause a thing is real ; for if this [cause] did not exist 
it were impossible that the thing should exist. Now, we 
must look for this cause either in the thing or outside the 
thing. If, however, any one should ask for a rule whereby 20 
to conduct this inquiry, we say that none whatever seems 
necessary. For if existence pertains to the nature of a thing, 
then it is certain that we must not look outside it for its cause ; 
but if such is not the case, then we must always look outside 
the thing for its cause. Since, however, the first pertains 
to God alone, it is thereby proved (as we have already also 
proved before) that God alone is the first cause of all things. 
From this it is also evident that this or that will of man (since 
the existence of the will does not pertain to its essence) must 
also have an external cause, by which it is necessarily 3 
caused ; that this is so is also evident from all that we have 
said in this chapter ; and it will be still more evident when, 
in the second part, we come to consider and discuss the 
freedom of man. 

Against all this others object : how is it possible that 


i God, who is said to be supremely perfect, and the sole 
cause, disposer, and provider of all, nevertheless permits 
such confusion to be seen everywhere in Nature? Also, 
why has he not made man so as not to be able to sin? 

Now, in the first place, it cannot be rightly said that 
there is confusion in Nature, since nobody knows all the 
causes of things so as to be able to judge accordingly. 
This objection, however, originates in this kind of ignorance, 
namely, that they have set up general Ideas, with which, 

10 they think, particular things must agree if they are to be 
perfect. These Ideas, they state, are in the understanding 
of God, as many of Plato s followers have said, namely, that 
these general Ideas (such as Rational, Animal,! and the like) 
have been created by God ; and although those who follow 
Aristotle say, indeed, that these things are not real things, 
only things of Reason, they nevertheless regard them 
frequently as [real] things, since they have clearly said that 
his providence does not extend to particular things, but 
only to kinds ; for example, God has never exercised his 

20 providence over Bucephalus, &c., but only over the whole 
genus Horse. They say also that God has no knowledge 
of particular and transient things, but only of the general, 
which, in their opinion, are imperishable. We have, how 
ever, rightly considered Jt this to be due to their ignorance. 
For it is precisely the particular things, and they alone, that 
have a cause, and not the general, because they are 

God then is the cause of, and providence over, particular 
things only. If particular things had to conform to some 

3 o other Nature, then they could not conform to their own, 
and consequently could not be what they truly are. For 
example, if God had made all human beings like Adam 
before the fall, then indeed he would only have created 
Adam, and no Paul nor Peter ; but no, it is just perfection 
\ B : Rational- Animal. tt B : to consider. 


in God, that he gives to all things, from the greatest to the i 
least, their essence, or, to express it better, that he has all 
things perfectly in himself. 

As regards the other [objection], why God has not made 
mankind so that they should not sin, to this it may serve [as 
an answer], that whatever is said about sin is only said 
with reference to us, that is, as when we compare two things 
with each other, or [consider one thing] from different 
points of view. For instance, if some one has made a clock 
precisely in order to strike and to show the hours, and the 10 
mechanism quite fulfils the aims of its maker, then we say that 
it is good, but if it does not do so, then we say that it is bad, 
notwithstanding that even then it might still be good if only 
it had been his intention to make it irregular and to strike 
at wrong times. 

We say then, in conclusion, that Peter must, as is 
necessary, conform to the Idea of Peter, and not to the 
Idea of Man ; good and evil, or sin, these are only modes 
of thought, and by no means things, or any thing that has 
reality, as we shall very likely show yet more fully in what 20 
follows. For all things and works which are in Nature 
are perfect. 



HERE we shall take up the consideration of those attributes f 
which are commonly attributed to God, but which, never 
theless, do not pertain to him ; as also of those through 
which it is sought to prove the existence of God, though 
in vain ; and also of the rules of accurate definition. 

For this purpose, we shall not trouble ourselves very 
10 much about the ideas that people commonly have of God, 
but we shall only inquire briefly into what the Philosophers 
can tell us about it. Now these have defined God as a 
being existing through or of himself, cause of all things. 
Omniscient, Almighty, eternal, simple, infinite, the highest 
good, of infinite compassion, &c. But before we approach 
this inquiry, let us just see what admissions they make 
to us. 

f As regards the attributes of which God consists, they are only 
infinite substances, each of which must of itself be infinitely perfect. 

20 That this must necessarily be so, we are convinced by clear and 
distinct reasons. It is true, however, that up to the present only 
two of all these infinites are known to us through their own essence; 
and these are thought and extension. All else that is commonly 
ascribed to God is not any attribute of his, but only certain modes 
which may be attributed to him either in consideration of all, that 
is, all his attributes, or in consideration of one attribute. In con 
sideration of all [it is said], for instance, that he is eternal, self- 
subsisting, infinite, cause of all things, immutable. In consideration 
of one [it is said], for instance, that he is omniscient, wise, &c., 

30 which pertains to thought, and, again, that he is omnipresent, fills 
all, &c., which pertains to extension. 

5 2 


In the first place, they say that it is impossible to give i 
a true or right definition of God, because, according to 
their opinion, there can be no definition except per genus 
et differentiam, and as God is not a species of any 
genus, he cannot be defined rightly, or according to the 

In the second place, they say that God cannot be defined, 
because the definition must describe the thing itself and 
also positively ; while, according to their standpoint, our 
knowledge of God cannot be of a positive, but only of a 10 
negative kind ; therefore no proper definition can be given 
of God. 

They also say, besides, that God can never be proved 
a priori, because he has no cause, but only by way of 
probability, or from his effects. 

Since by these assertions of theirs they admit sufficiently 
that their knowledge of God is very little and slight, let us 
now proceed to examine their definition. 

In the first place, we do not see that they give us in it any 
attribute or attributes through which it can be known what 20 
the thing (God) is,t but only some propria or properties 
which do, indeed, belong to a thing, but never explain what 
the thing is. For although self-subsisting, being the cause of 
all things, highest good, eternal and immutable, &c., are 
peculiar to God alone, nevertheless, from those properties 
we cannot know what that being, to whom these properties 
pertain, is, and what attributes he has. 

It is now also time for us to consider the things which 
they ascribe to God, and which do not, however, pertain to 
him,t such as omniscient, merciful, wise, and so forth, which 30 
things, since they are only certain modes of the thinking 
thing, and can by no means be, or be understood without 

t That is to say, when he is considered as all that he is, or with 
regard to all his attributes ; see on this point page 5 2 n. 

I B : through which the thing (namely God) can be known. 


i the substances t whose modes II they are, can, con 
sequently, also not be attributed to him, who is a Being 
subsisting without the aid of anything, and solely through 

Lastly, they call him the highest good ; but if they under 
stand by it something different from what they have already 
said, namely, that God is immutable, and a cause of all things, 
then they have become entangled in their own thought, or 
are unable to understand themselves. This is the outcome 

10 of their misconception of good and evil, for they believe 
that man himself, and not God, is the cause of his sins and 
wickedness which, according to what we have already 
proved, cannot be the case, else we should be compelled 
to assert that man is also the cause of himself. However, 
this will appear yet more evident when we come to consider 
the will of man. 

It is necessary that we should now unravel their specious 
arguments wherewith they seek to excuse their ignorance 
in Theology. 

20 First of all, then, they say that a correct definition must 
consist of a " genus " and " differentia." Now, although all the 
Logicians admit this, I do not know where they get it from. 
And, to be sure, if this must be true, then we can know 
nothing whatever. For if it is through a definition con 
sisting of genus and differentia that we can first get to know 
a thing perfectly, then we can never know perfectly the 
highest genus, which has no genus above it. Now then : If 
the highest genus, which is the cause of our knowledge of 
all other things, is not known, much less, then, can the 

30 other things be understood or known which are explained 
by that genus. However, since we are free, and do not 
consider ourselves in any way tied to their assertions, we 
shall, in accordance with true logic, propose other rule s 

J B : substance. 

tt A: essences (wezens); B: modes (wijzeri). 


of definition, namely, on the lines of our division of i 

Now we have already seen that the attributes (or, as 
others call them, substances) are things, or, to express our 
selves better and more aptly, [constitute] a being which 
subsists through itself, and therefore makes itself known and 
reveals itself through itself. 

As to the other things, we see that they are but modes of 
the attributes, without which also they can neither be, nor 
be understood. Consequently definitions must be of two 10 
kinds (or sorts) : 

1. The first, namely, are those of attributes, which pertain 
to a self-subsisting being, these need no genus, or anything, 
through which they might be better understood or 
explained : for, since they exist as attributes of a self- 
subsisting being, they also become known through them 

2. The second [kind of definitions] are those [of things] 
which do not exist through themselves, but only through 
the attributes whose modes they are, and through which, 2 o 
as their genus, they must be understood. 

And this is [all that need be said] concerning their 
statement about definitions. As regards the other [assertion], 
namely, that God can [not] be known by us adequately, 
this has been sufficiently answered by D. des Cartes in his 
answers to the objections relating to these things, page 18. 

And the third [assertion], namely, that God cannot be 
proved a priori, has also already been answered by us. 
Since God is the cause of himself, it is enough that we prove 
him through himself, and such a proof is also much more 30 
conclusive than the a posteriori proof, which generally rests 
only on external causes. 



HERE, before we proceed to something else, we shall briefly 
divide the whole of Nature namely, into Natura naturans 
and Natura naturata. By Natura naturans we understand 
a being that we conceive clearly and distinctly through 
itself, and without needing anything beside itself (like all 
the attributes which we have so far described), that is, God. 
The Thomists likewise understand God by it, but their 
10 Natura naturans was a being (so they called it) beyond all 

The Natura naturata we shall divide into two, a general, 
and a particular. The general consists of all the modes 
which depend immediately on God, of which we shall treat 
in the following chapter ; the particular consists of all the 
particular things which are produced by the general mode. 
So that the Natura naturata requires some substance J in 
order to be well understood. 

J A : substances ; B : substance. 



Now, as regards the general Natura naturata, or the modes, 
or creations which depend on, or have been created by, 
God immediately, of these we know no more than two, 
namely, motion in matter,! and the understanding in the 
thinking thing. These, then, we say, have been from all 
eternity, and to all eternity will remain immutable. A 
work truly as great as becomes the greatness of the work- 
master. 10 

All that specially concerns Motion, such as that it has been 
from all eternity, and to all eternity will remain immutable ; that 
it is infinite in its kind ; that it can neither be, nor be understood 
through itself, but only by means of Extension, all this, I say, 
since it [Motion] more properly belongs to a treatise on 
Natural Science rather than here,! we shall not consider in 
this place, but we shall only say this about it, that it is a 
Son, Product, or Effect created immediately by God. 

As regards the Understanding in the thinking thing, this, 
like the first, is also a Son, Product, or immediate Creation of 20 
God, also created by him from all eternity, and remaining 
immutable to all eternity. It has but one function, It 

t Note. What is here said about motion in matter is not said 
seriously. For the Author still intends to discover the cause thereof, 
as he has already done to some extent a posteriori. But it can 
stand just as it is, because nothing is based upon it, or dependent 
thereon. [B omits this note.] 

J In A and B the words " since it ... than here " follow 
immediately after " Motion," at the beginning of the sentence. 

tl Literally : This its attribute is but one. 30 



namely, to understand clearly and distinctly all things at all 
times ; which produces invariably an infinite or most perfect 
satisfaction, which cannot omit to do what it does. Although 
what we have just said is sufficiently self-evident, still, we 
shall prove it more clearly afterwards in our account of the 
Affects of the Soul, and shall therefore say no more about 
it here. 


IN order to explain briefly what good and evil are in them 
selves, we shall begin thus : 

Some things are in our understanding and not I in Nature, 
and so they are also only our own creation, and their pur 
pose is to understand things distinctly : among these we 
include all relations, which have reference to different things, 
and these we call Entia Rationis [things of reason]. Now 
the question is, whether good and evil belong to the Entia 10 
Rationis or to the Entia Realia [real things]. But since good 
and evil are only relations, it is beyond doubt that they must 
be placed among the Entia Rationis ; for we never say that 
something is good except with reference to something else 
which is not so good, or is not so useful to us as some other 
thing. Thus we say that a man is bad, only in comparison 
with one who is better, or also that an apple is bad, in com 
parison with another which is good or better. 

All this could not possibly be said, if that which is better 
or good, in comparison with which it [the bad] is so called, 20 
did not exist. 

Therefore, when we say that something is good, we only 
mean that it conforms well to the general Idea which we 
have of such things. But,H as we have already said before, 
the things must agree with their particular Ideas, whose 
essence must be a perfect essence, and not with the general 
*[ Ideas]*, since in that case they would not exist. 

As to confirming what we have just said, the thing is clear 

J B : not such. 

II A: "And therefore"; B: Nevertheless." 


i to us ; but still, to conclude our remarks, we will add yet 
the following proofs : 

All things which are in Nature, are either things or 
actions. Now good and evil are neither things nor actions. 
Therefore good and evil do not exist in Nature. 

For, if good and evil are things or actions, then they 
must have their definitions. But good and evil (as, for 
example, the goodness of Peter and the wickedness of 
Judas) have no definitions apart from the essence of Judas 

10 or Peter, because this alone exists in Nature, and they can 
not be defined without their essence. Therefore, as above 
it follows that good and evil are not things or actions 
which exist in Nature. 





HAVING, in the first part, discoursed on God, and on the 
universal and infinite things, we shall proceed now, in the 
second part, to the treatment of particular and finite things ; 
though not of all, since they are innumerable, but we shall 
only treat of those which concern man ; and, in the first 
place, we shall consider here what man is, in so far as he 
consists of certain modes (contained in the two attributes 
which we have remarked in God). I say of certain modes, 
for I by no means think that man, in so far as he consists of Jo 
spirit, soul,f or body, is a substance. Because, already at the 

f i. Our soul is either a substance or a mode; it is not a sub 
stance, because we have already shown that there can be no finite 
substance ; it is therefore a mode. 

2. Being a mode, then, it must be such either of "substantial" 
extension or of " substantial " thought ; not of extension, because, 
&c. ; therefore of thought. 

3. " Substantial " Thought, since it cannot be finite, is infinitely 
perfect in its kind, and an attribute of God. 

4. Perfect thought must have a Knowledge, Idea, or mode of 20 
thought of all and everything that is real, of substances as well as 

of modes, without exception. 

5. We say, that is real, because we are not speaking here of a 
Knowledge, Idea, &c., which completely knows the nature of all 
things as involved in their essence, apart from their individual 
existence, but only of the Knowledge, Idea, &c., of the particular 
things which are constantly coming into existence. 

6. This Knowledge, Idea, &c., of each particular thing which 
happens to be real is, we say, the soul of this particular thing. 

7. All and sundry particular things that are real, have become 3 
such through motion and rest, and this is true of all the modes of 

" substantial " extension which we call bodies. 

8. The differences among these result solely from the varying 


i beginning of this book, we proved (i) that no substance can 
have a beginning ; (2) that one substance cannot produce 
another ; and lastly (3), that there cannot be two like sub 

As man has not been in existence from eternity, is finite, 
and is like many men, he can be no substance ; so that all that 
he has of thought are only modes of the attribute thought which 
we have attributed to God. And, again, all that he has of 
form, motion, and other things, are likewise [modes] of the 

10 other attribute which is attributed *by us* to God. 

And although from this, [namely,] that the nature of man 
can neither be, nor be understood without the attributes 
which we ourselves admit to constitute substance, some try 
to prove that man is a substance, yet this has no other 
ground than false suppositions. For, since the nature of 

proportions of motion and rest, through which this is so, and not 
so this is this, and not that. 

9. From such proportion of motion and rest comes also the 
existence of our body ; of which, consequently, no less than of all 

20 other things, there must be a Knowledge, an Idea, &c., in the 
thinking thing, and hence at once also our soul. 

10. This body of ours, however, had a different proportion of 
motion and rest when it was an unborn embryo ; and in due course, 
when we are dead, it will have a different proportion again none 
the less there was at that time [before our birth], and there 
will be then [after death] an idea, knowledge, &c., of our body in 
the thinking thing, just as there is now ; but by no means the same 
[idea, &c.], since it is now differently proportioned as regards 
motion and rest. 

30 ii. To produce, in " substantial " thought, such an idea, know 
ledge, mode of thought as ours now is, what is required is, not any 
body you please (then it would have to be known differently from 
what it is), but just such a body having this proportion of motion 
and rest, and no other : for as the body is, so is the Soul, Idea, 
Knowledge, &c. 

12. As soon, then, as a body has and retains this proportion 
[which our body has], say, e.g., of i to 3, then that soul and that 


matter or body existed before the form of this human body i 
existed, that nature cannot be peculiar to the human body, 
because it is clear that during the time when man was not, 
it could never belong to the nature of man. 

And what they set up as a fundamental principle, [namely,] 
that that pertains to the nature of a thing, without which the 
thing can neither be, nor be understood, we deny. For we have 
already shown that without God no thing can be or be under 
stood. That is, God must first be and be understood before 
these particular things can be and be understood. We have 10 
also shown that genera do not belong to the nature of 
definition, but that only such things as cannot exist 
without others, can also not be understood without these. 
This being so, what kind of a rule shall we, then, state, 
whereby it shall be known what belongs to the nature of a 
thing ? 

body will be like ours now are, being indeed constantly subject to 
change, but to none so great that it will exceed the limits of i to 3 ; 
though as much as it changes, so much also does the soul always 
change. 20 

13. And this change in us, resulting from other bodies acting 
upon us, cannot take place without the soul, which always 
changes correspondingly, becoming aware of the change. And 
[the consciousness of] J this change is really what we call 

14. But when other bodies act so violently upon ours that the 
proportion of motion [to rest] cannot remain i to 3, that means 
death, and the annihilation of the Soul, since this is only an Idea, 
Knowledge, &c., of this body having this proportion of motion 
and rest. 30 

15. Still, since it [the soul] is a mode in the thinking substance 
it could also know, and love this [substance] as well as that of 
extension, and by uniting with substances (which remain always the 
same) it could make itself eternal. 

I This emendation was suggested by Boehmer. 
Jl Gevoel [sensibility ?]. 


Well, the rule is this : That belongs to the nature of a 
thing, without which the thing can neither be, nor be under 
stood ; not merely so, however, but in such wise that the 
judgment must be convertible, that is, that the predicate can 
neither be, nor be understood without the thing. Of these 
modes, then, of which man consists, we shall begin to treat 
at the commencement of the following first chapter. 



To begin our consideration of the modes t of which man 
consists, we shall state, (i) what they are, (2) their effects, 
and (3) their cause. 

As regards the first, let us begin with those that are first 
known to us : namely, certain ideas or the consciousness 
of the knowledge of ourselves, and of the things which are 
outside us. 

Now we get these ideas ft (i) either merely through I0 
belief (which belief arises either from experience, or from 
hearsay), (2) or, in the second place, we acquire them by 
way of a true belief, (3) or, thirdly, we have them as the 
result of clear and distinct conception. 

The first is commonly subject to error. 

The second and third, however, although they differ from 
one another, cannot err. 

To make all this somewhat clearer and more intelligible, 
we shall give the following illustration taken from the Rule 
of Three. 20 

Some one ttt has just heard it said that if, in the Rule of 
Three, the second number is multiplied by the third, and 
then divided by the first, a fourth number will then be 
obtained which has the same relation to the third as the 

f The modes of which Man consists are ideas, differentiated as 
Opinion, true Belief, and clear and distinct Knowledge, produced 
by objects, each in its own way. 

ft These ideas of this Belief are put first on page 69 ; here and 
there they are also called opinion, which they really are. 

ttt This one merely forms an opinion, or, as is commonly said, 30 
believes through hearsay only. [B omits this note.] 



i second has to the first. And notwithstanding the possi 
bility that he who put this before him might have been 
lying, he still made his calculations accordingly, and he did 
so without having acquired any more knowledge of the Rule 
of Three than a blind man has of colour, so that whatever 
he may have said about it, he simply repeated as a parrot 
repeats what it has been taught. 

Another,t having a more active intelligence, is not so 
easily satisfied with mere hearsay, but tests it by some 

10 actual calculations, and when he finds that they agree with 
it, then he gives credence to it. But we have rightly said 
that this one also is subject to error ; for how can he 
possibly be sure that his experience of a few particulars can 
serve him as a rule for all ? 

A third,ff who is not satisfied with hearsay, because it 
may deceive, nor with experience of a few particulars, 
because this cannot possibly serve as a rule, examines it in 
the light of true Reason, which, when properly applied, has 
never deceived. This then tells him that on account of 

20 the nature of the proportion in these numbers it had to be 
so, and could not happen otherwise. 

A fourth, fit however, having the clearest knowledge of 
all, has no need of hearsay, or experience, or the art of reason 
ing, because by his penetration he sees the proportion in t 
all such calculations immediately.^ 

f This one thinks or believes not simply through hearsay, but 
from experience : and these are the two kinds of people who have 
[mere] opinions. [B omits this note.] 

ft This one is certain through true belief, which can never 
30 deceive him, and he is properly called a believer. 

ttt But this last one is never [merely] of opinion, nor a [mere] 
believer, but sees the things themselves, not through something 
else, but through the things themselves. 

t A: "and"; B: "in." 

tt B adds here, in the body of the text, the substance of the 
above two notes on the third and fourth kinds of knowledge. 



WE come now to the consideration of the effects of the 
different grades of knowledge, of which we spoke in the 
preceding chapter, and, in passing as it were, we shall 
explain what(Opinion, Belief, and clear Knowledge are. 

The first [kind of knowledge], then, we call Opinion, 
the second Belief, but the third is what we call clear 
Knowledge.^ 10 

We call it Opinion because it is subject to error, and has 
no place when we are sure of anything, but only in those 
cases when we are said to guess and to surmise. The second 
we call Belief, because the things we apprehend only with 
our reason are not seen by us, but are only known to us 
through the conviction of our understanding that it must 
be so and not otherwise. But we call that clear Knowledge 
which comes, not from our being convinced by reasons, 
but from our feeling and enjoying the thing itself, and it 
surpasses the others by far. 20 

After these preliminary remarks let us now turn to their 
effects. Of these we say this, namely, that from the first 
proceed all the " passions" which are opposed to good 
reason ; from the second, the good desires ; and from the 
third, true and sincere Love, with all its offshoots. 

We thus maintain that Knowledge is the proximate cause 
of all the " passions " in the soul. For we consider it once 
for all impossible that any one, who neither thinks nor knows 
in any of the preceding ways and modes, should be 
capable of being incited to Love or Desire or any other 30 

mode of Will. 

t B omits this sentence. 



HERE, then, let us see how, as we have said, the passions 
derive their origin from opinion. To do this well and 
intelligently we shall take some special ones, and prove 
what we say by using these as illustrations. 

Let Surprise, then, be the first. This is found in one who 
knows a thing after the first manner [of Knowledge] ; t for, 
10 since from a few particulars he draws a conclusion which is 
general, he stands surprised whenever he sees anything 
that goes against his conclusion ; t like one who, having 
never seen any sheep except with short tails, is surprised 
at the sheep from Morocco which have long ones. So it is 

J A refers to the following note already here ; B, at the next 

f This should on no account be taken to mean that a formal 
inference must always precede astonishment ; on the contrary, it 
exists also without that, namely, when we tacitly believe that a thing 

20 is [always] so, and not different from what we are accustomed to 
see it, hear or think about it, &c. For example, Aristotle says, a 
dog is a barking animal, therefore he concludes, whatever barks is 
a dog ; but when a peasant says a dog, he means tacitly just the 
same that Aristotle did with his definition. So that when the peasant 
hears the barking he says, a dog ; and so, if they had heard some 
other kind of animal bark, the peasant, who had drawn no [explicit] 
inference, would stand just as astonished as Aristotle, who had drawn 
an inference. Furthermore, when we become aware of something 
about which we had never thought before, it is not really such the 

30 like of which, whether as a whole or in part, we have not known 
before, only it is not so constituted in all respects, or we have never 
been affected by it in the same way, &c. 



related of a peasant that he had persuaded himself that i 
beyond his fields there were no others, but when he hap 
pened to miss a cow, and was compelled to go and look for 
her far away, he was surprised at the great number of fields 
that there were beyond his few acres. And, to be sure, this 
must also be the case with many Philosophers who have 
persuaded themselves that beyond this field or little globe, 
on which they are, there are no more [worlds] (because they 
have seen no others). But surprise is never felt by him 
who draws true inferences. This is the first. 10 

The second is Love.l Since this arises either from true 
ideas, or from opinion, or, lastly, from hearsay only, we 
shall see first how [it arises] from opinion, then how [it 
arises] from [true] ideas ; for the first tends to our ruin, and 
the second to our supreme happiness ; and then [we shall 
see how it arises] from the last. 

t The substance of the next three paragraphs is given in the 
following simpler order in B : 

The second is Love. This arises either, i, from hearsay, or 
2, from opinion, or 3, from true ideas. 20 

As regards the first, we generally observe it in the attitude of 
children to their father ; because their father tells them this or that 
is good they incline towards it, without knowing anything more 
about it. We see it also in those who, from Love, give their 
lives for the Fatherland, and also in those who from hearsay about 
something fall in love with it. 

As regards the second, it is certain that whenever any one sees, 
or thinks he sees, something good, he is always inclined to unite 
himself with it, and, for the sake of the good which he discerns 
therein, he chooses it as the best, outside which he then knows 30 
nothing better or more agreeable. Yet if ever it happens (as it 
mostly does happen in these things) that he gets to know something 
better than this good at present known to him, then his love changes 
immediately from the one (first) to the other (second). All this we 
shall show more clearly when we treat of the freedom of man. 

As to love from true ideas, as this is not the place to speak of it, 
we shall pass it over for the present. [See note f on page 72.] 


i As regards the first, it is certain that whenever any one 
sees, or thinks he sees, something good, he is always inclined 
to unite himself with it, and, for the sake of the good which 
he discerns therein, he chooses it as the best, outside which 
he then knows nothing better or more agreeable. Yet if 
ever it happens (as it mostly does happen in these things) 
that he gets to know something better than this good at 
present known to him, then his love changes immediately 
from the one (first) to the other (second). All this we shall 

10 show more clearly when we treat of the freedom of man. 

As to love from true ideas,t since this is not the the place 
to speak of it, we shall pass it over now, and speak of the 
third, and last, namely, the Love that comes from hearsay 
only. This we generally observe in the attitude of children 
to their father : because their father tells them that this or 
that is good they incline towards it, without knowing any 
thing more about it. We see it also in those who from 
Love give their lives for the Fatherland, and also in those 
who from hearsay about some thing fall in love with it. 

20 Next, Hatred, the exact opposite of love, arises from 
error which is the outcome of opinion. For when some 
one has come to the conclusion that a certain thing is 
good, and another happens to do something to the detri 
ment of the same thing, then there arises in him a hatred 
against the one who did it, and this, as we shall explain 
afterwards, could never happen if the true good were 
known. For, in comparison with the true good, all indeed 
that is, or is conceived, is naught but wretchedness itself ; 
and is not such a lover of what is wretched much more 

30 deserving of pity than of hatred ? 

Hatred, lastly, comes also from mere hearsay, as we see 
it in the Turks against Jews and Christians, in the Jews 

f Love that comes from true ideas or clear knowledge is not 
considered here, as it is not the outcome of opinion ; see, however, 
chapter xxii. about it. 


against the Turks and Christians, in the Christians against the i 
Jews and Turks, &c. For, among all these, how ignorant is 
the one multitude of the religion and morals of the others ! 

Desire. Whether (as some will have it) it consists only in 
a longing or inclination to obtain what is wanting, or (as 
others will have it t) to retain the things which we already 
enjoy, it is certain that it cannot be found to have come 
upon any one except for an apparent good [sub speciebom]. 
It is therefore clear that Desire, as also Love which we have 
already discussed, is the outcome of the first kind of know- 10 
ledge. For if any one has heard that a certain thing is 
good, he feels a longing and inclination for the same, as may 
be seen in the case of an invalid who, through hearing the 
doctor say that such or such a remedy is good for his ailment, 
at once longs for the same, *and feels a desire for it.* 

Desire arises also from experience, as may be seen in the 
practice of doctors, who when they have found a certain 
remedy good several times are wont to regard it t as some 
thing unfailing. 

All that we have just said of these, the same we can say 20 
of all other passions, as is clear to every one. And as, in 
what follows, we shall begin to inquire which of them are 
rational, and which of them are irrational, we shall leave 
the subject now, and say no more about it. 

What has now been said of these few though most 
important [passions] can also be said of all others ; Jt and 
with this we conclude the subject of the Passions which 
arise from Opinion. 

f The first definition is the best, because when the thing is 
enjoyed the desire ceases ; the form [of consciousness] which then 30 
prompts us to retain the thing is not desire, but a fear of losing the 
thing loved. 

t B : are wont to resort to it. 

t| B omits the first half of the concluding sentence ( What . . . 
others "). 



SINCE we have shown in the preceding chapter how the 
Passions arise from the error of Opinion, let us now see 
here the effects of the two other modes of Knowing. And 
first of all, [the effect] of what we have called True 

This shows us, indeed, what a thing ought to be, but not 
10 what it really is. And this is the reason why it can never 
unite us with the object of our belief. I say, then, that it 
only teaches us what the thing ought to be, and not what it 
is ; between these two there is a great difference. For, as 
we remarked a propos of the example taken from the rule of 
three, when any one can, by the aid of proportion, find a 
fourth number that shall be related to the third as the second 
is to the first, then (having used division and multiplication) 
he can say that the four numbers must be proportional ; 

f Belief is a strong proof based on Reasons, whereby I am con- 
20 vinced in my mind that the thing is really, and just such, outside 
my understanding, as I am convinced in my mind that it is. I say, 
a strong proof based on Reasons, in order thereby to distinguish it 
both from Opinion, which is always doubtful and liable to error, and 
from Knowledge which does not consist in being convinced by 
Reasons, but in an immediate union with the thing itself. I say, 
that the thing is really and just such outside my understanding 
really, because reasons cannot deceive me in this, for otherwise they 
would not be different from opinion. Just such, for it can only tell 
me what the thing ought to be, and not what it really is, otherwise 
30 it would not be different from Knowing. Outside, for it makes us 
enjoy intellectually not what is in us, but what is outside us. 



and although that is so, he speaks of it none the less as of a i 
thing that is beyond him. But when he comes to see the 
proportion in the way which we have shown in the fourth J 
example, then he says with truth that the thing is so, because 
then it is in him and not beyond him. * Let * this * suffice * 
as regards the first [effect]. 

The second effect of true belief is that it brings us to a 
clearer understanding, through which we love God, and thus 
it makes us intellectually aware of the things which are not 
in us, but outside us. 10 

The third effect is, that it gives us the knowledge of good 
and evil, and shows us all the passions which should be 
suppressed. And as we have already said that the passions 
which come from opinion are liable to great evil, it is worth 
the pains to see how these also are sifted out by this second 
kind of knowledge, so that we may see what is good and 
what is bad in them. 

To do so conveniently, let us, using the same method as 
before, look at them closely, so that we may know through 
it which of them should be chosen and which rejected, ao 
But, before proceeding to this, let us first state briefly what 
is the good and evil of man. 

We have already said before that all things are necessarily 
what they are, and that in Nature there is no good and no evil. 
So that whatever we want man to be * [in this respect] * 
must refer to his kind, which is nothing else than a thing of 
Reason. And when we have conceived in our mind an Idea 
of a perfect man, it should make us look (when we examine 
ourselves) to see whether we have any means of attaining to 
such perfection. 30 

Hence, then, whatever advances us towards perfection, 
we call good, and, on the contrary, what hinders, or also 
what does not advance us toward it, bad. 

I must therefore, I say, conceive a perfect man, if I want 
I A : third ; B : fourth. 


i to assert anything concerning the good and evil of man, 
because if I were to consider the good and evil * of some 
individual man,* say, e.g., of Adam, I should be confusing a 
real thing (ens reale) with a thing of Reason (ens Rationis], 
which must be most scrupulously avoided by an upright 
Philosopher, for reasons which we shall state in the sequel, 
or on another occasion. Furthermore, since the destiny of 
Adam, or of any other individual creature, is not known to 
us except through the result, so * it follows * that what we 

10 can say even of the destiny of man must be based on the 
idea which our understanding forms of a perfect man,t 
which destiny, since it is a thing of Reason, we may well 
know ; so also, as already remarked, are good and evil, 
which are only modes of thinking. 

To come gradually to the point : We have already pointed 
out before how the movement, passions, and activities of the 
soul arise from ideas, and these ideas we have divided into 
four kinds, namely, [according as they are based on] mere 
hearsay, experience, belief, clear knowledge. And from 

20 what we have now seen of the effects of all these, it is evident 
that the fourth, namely, clear knowledge, is the most perfect 
of all. For opinion often leads us into error. True belief is 
good only because it is the way to true knowledge, and 
awakens us to things which are really lovable. So that the 
final end that we seek, and the highest that we know, is true 
knowledge. But even this true knowledge varies with the 
objects that come before it : the better the object is with 
which it happens to unite itself, so much the better also is 
this knowledge. And, for this reason, he is the most perfect 

30 man who is united with God (who is the most perfect being 
of all), and so enjoys him. 

f For from no individual creature can one derive an Idea that is 
perfect ; for the perfection of this object itself, [that is,] whether it 
is really perfect or not, cannot be deduced except from a general 
perfect Idea, or Ens Rationis. 


Now, in order to find out what is good and bad in the 
affects or passions, let us, as suggested, take them one by 
one. And first of all, Surprise. This, since it arises either 
from ignorance or prejudice, is an imperfection in the 
man who is subject to this perturbance. I say an imper 
fection, because, through itself, surprise does not lead to 
any evil. 



LOVE, which is nothing else than the enjoyment of a thing 
and union therewith, we shall divide according to the quali 
ties of its object ; the object, that is, which man seeks to 
enjoy, and to unite himself with. 

Now some objects are in themselves transient; others, 
indeed, are not transient by virtue of their cause. There is 
yet a third that is eternal and imperishable through its own 
10 power and might. 

The transient are all the particular things which did not 
exist from all time, or I have had a beginning. 

The others are all those modes :ft which we have stated to 
be the cause of the particular modes. 

But the third is God, or, what we regard as one and the 
same, Truth. 

Love, then, arises from the idea and knowledge that we 
have of a thing ; and according as the thing shows itself 
greater and more glorious, so also is our love greater. 
20 In two ways it is possible to free ourselves from love : 
either by getting to know something better, or by discovering 
that the loved object, which is held * by us* to be some 
thing great and glorious, brings in its train much woe and 

It is also characteristic of love that we never think 
of emancipating ourselves from it (as from surprise and 
other passions) ; and this for the following two reasons : 
(i) because it is impossible, (2) because it is necessary that 
we should not be released from the same. 

30 I B : but. H B : the general modes. 



It is impossible because it does not depend on us, but i 
only on the good and useful which we discern in the object ; 
it is necessary that these should never have become known 
to us, if we would not * or should not * love it ; and this is 
not a matter of our free choice, or dependent on us, for 
if we knew nothing, it is certain that we should also be 

It is necessary that we should not be released from it, 
because, owing to the weakness of our nature, we could not 
exist without enjoying something with which we become 10 
united, and from which we draw strength. 

Now which of these three kinds of objects are we to 
choose or to reject ? 

As regards the transient (since, as remarked, we must, 
owing to the weakness of our nature, necessarily love 
something and become united with it in order to exist), it 
is certain that our nature becomes nowise strengthened 
through our loving, and becoming united with, these, J 
for they are weak themselves, and the one cripple cannot 
carry the other. And not only do they not advance us, but 20 
they are even harmful to us. For we have said that love is 
a union with the object which our understanding judges to be 
good and glorious ; and by this we mean such a union 
whereby both the lover H and what is loved become one 
and the same thing, or together constitute one whole. He, 
therefore, is indeed always wretched who is united to 
transient things. For, since these are beyond his power, 
and subject to many accidents, it is impossible that, when 
they are affected, he should be free from these affects. And, 
consequently, we conclude : If those who love transient 30 
things that have some measure of reality are so wretched, 
how wretched must they be who love honour, riches, and 
pleasures, which have no reality whatever ! 

t B : with things which are transient, 
tt A and B : love. 


i Let this suffice to show us how Reason teaches us to keep 
away from things so fleeting. For what we have just said 
shows us clearly the poison and the evil which lurk con 
cealed in the love of these things. But we see this yet 
incomparably clearer when we observe from what glorious 
and excellent a good we are kept away through the enjoy 
ment of this. 

We said before that the things which are transient are 
beyond our power. * But * let us be well understood ; we 

10 do not mean to say that we are a free cause depending upon 
nothing else ; only when we say that some things are in, 
others beyond our power, we mean by those that are in 
our power such as we can produce through the order of 
or together with Nature, of which we are a part ; by those 
which are not in our power, such as, being outside us, are 
not liable to suffer any change through us, because they are 
very far removed from our real essence as thus fashioned by 

To proceed, we come now to the second kind of objects, 

20 which though eternal and imperishable, are not such through 
their own power, t However, if we institute a brief inquiry 
here, we become immediately aware that these are only 
mere modes which depend immediately on God. And since 
the nature of these is such, they cannot be conceived by us 
unless we, at the same time, have a conception of God. In 
this, since he is perfect, our Love must necessarily rest. 
And, to express it in a word, if we use our understanding 
aright it will be impossible for us not to love God. 

The Reasons why, are clear. First of all, because we find 

30 that God alone has essence only, and all other things are 
not essences but modes. And since the modes cannot be 
rightly understood without the entity on which they im 
mediately depend ; and [as] we have already shown before 

I B continues : "but are modes which depend immediately on 
God " and omits the next sentence. 


that if, when loving something, we get to know a better i 
thing than that which we then love, we always prefer it 
immediately, and forsake the first ; it follows, therefore, 
incontrovertibly that when we get to know God, who has all 
perfection in himself, we must necessarily love him. 

Secondly , if we use our understanding well in acquiring 
a knowledge of things, then we must know them in [relation 
to] their causes. Now then, since God is a first cause of 
all other things, therefore, from the nature of the case 
(ex rerum natura), the knowledge of God is, and remains, I0 
before the knowledge of all other things : because the 
knowledge of all other things must follow from the know 
ledge of the first cause. And true love results always from 
the knowledge that the thing is glorious and good. What 
else, then, can follow but that it can be lavished upon no 
one more ardently than upon the Lord our God ? For he 
alone is glorious, and a perfect good. 

So we see now, how we can make love strong, and also 
how it must rest only in God. 

What more we had still to say about love, we shall bear 2 o 
in mind to say t it when we consider the last kind of 
knowledge. In what follows here we shall inquire, as we 
promised before, as to which of the passions we are to 
entertain, which we are to reject. 

A: do. 



HATRED is an inclination to ward off from us that which has 
caused us some harm.! Now it is to be remarked that 
we perform our actions in two ways, namely, either with or 
without passion. With passion, as is commonly seen in the 
[conduct of] masters towards their servants who have done 
something amiss. Without passion, as is related of Socrates, 
who, when he was compelled to chastise his slave for [the 
10 latter s own] good, never did so when he felt that he was 
enraged against his slave. 

Now that we see that our actions are performed by us 
either with, or without passion, we think that it is clear 
that those things which hinder or have hindered us 
can be removed, when necessary, without any perturba 
tion on our part. And so, which is better : that we should 
flee from the things with aversion and hatred, or that, with 
the strength of reason, we should (for we think it possible) 
endure them without loss of temper ? First of all, it is 
20 certain that when we do what we have to do without 
passion, then no evil can result therefrom. And, since 
there is no mean between good and evil, we see that, as 
it is bad to do anything in a passion, so it must be good to 
act without it. 

But let us examine whether there is any harm in fleeing 
from things with hatred and aversion. 

As regards the hatred which comes from opinion, it is 
certain that it should have no place in us, because we know 
that one and the same thing is good for us at one time, bad 

30 IB: let or hindrance. 



for us at another time, as is always the case with medicinal i 

It therefore depends, in the end ; on whether the hatred 
arises in us only through opinion, and not also through 
true reasoning. But to ascertain this properly we deem it 
right to explain distinctly what hatred is, and to distinguish 
it from aversion. 

Now I say that Hatred is a perturbation of the soul 
against some one who has done some ill to us willingly and 
knowingly. But aversion is the perturbation which arises I0 
in us against a thing on account of some infirmity or injury 
which we either know or think is in it by nature. I say, by 
nature ; for when we do not suppose * or think* that it is so, 
then, even if we have suffered some hindrance or injury from 
it, we have no aversion for it, because we may, on the con 
trary, expect something useful from it. Thus, when some one 
is hurt by a stone or a knife, he does not on that account feel 
any aversion for the same. 

After these observations let us now briefly consider the 
consequences of both of them. From hatred there ensues 20 
sorrow ; and when the hatred is great, it produces anger, 
which not only, like hatred, seeks to flee from what is hated, 
but also to annihilate it, when that is practicable : from this 
great hatred comes also envy. But from aversion there 
comes a certain sorrow, because we consider ourselves to 
be deprived of something which, since it is real, must always 
have its essence and perfection. 

From what has just been said it may be easily understood 
that, if we use our Reason aright, we can feel no hatred or 
aversion for anything, because, if we do, we deprive our- 30 
selves of that perfection which is to be found in everything.! 

t B continues : " while, on the contrary, if we want anything we 
must contrive to improve whatever we want from nature, whether 
for our own sake, or for the sake of the thing itself " and omits 
the next sentence. 


i We see likewise with our Reason that we can never [reason- 
ably] feel any hatred whatever against anybody, because 
whatsoever exists in Nature, if we entertain any wish about 
it, then we must always improve it, whether for our sake or 
for the sake of the thing itself. And since a perfect man is 
the best thing *for us* that we know of all that we have 
around us or before our eyes, it is by far the best both for us 
and for all people individually that we should at all times seek 
to educate them to this perfect state. For only then can we 

10 reap the greatest benefit from them, and they from us. 
The means thereto is, to give regard to them always in the 
manner in which we are constantly taught and exhorted to 
do by our good Conscience ; for this never prompts us 
to our undoing, but always to our happiness *and well- 

In conclusion, we say that Hatred and Aversion have 
in them as many imperfections as Love, on the con 
trary, has perfections. For this always produces improve 
ment, invigoration, and enlargement, which constitute 

20 perfection ; while Hatred, on the contrary, always makes 
for desolation, enervation, and annihilation, which con 
stitute imperfection itself. 



HAVING seen that Hatred and Surprise II are such that 
we may freely say, that they can have no place in those 
who use their understanding as they should, we shall 
now proceed in the same manner to speak of the other 
passions. To begin with, Desire and Joy shall come first. 
Since these arise from the same causes from which love 
ensues, we shall only say concerning them that we must 
remember and call to mind what we then said ; and with 10 
this we leave the subject. 

We turn next to Sorrow, of which we may say that it 
arises only from opinion and imagination *which follows* 
therefrom : for it comes from the loss of some good. 

Now we have already remarked above, that whatso 
ever we do should tend towards progress and amelioration. 
But it is certain that so long as we are sorrowing we render 
ourselves unfit to act thus ; on this account it is necessary 
that we should free ourselves from it. This we can do by 
thinking of the means whereby we may recover what we 20 
have lost, if it is in our power to do so. If not, [we must 
reflect] that it is just as necessary to make an end of it,ttt 
lest we fall a prey to all the miseries *and disasters* which 
sorrow necessarily brings in its train. And either course 
* must be adopted* with joy ; for it is foolish to try to restore 
and make good a lost good by means of a self-sought and 
provoked evil. 

I B : On Desire and Joy. JJ B : Hatred and Aversion. 

ItJ B : Sorrow. 



i Lastly, he who uses his understanding aright must neces 
sarily know God first. Now God, as we have shown, is 
the highest good and all that is good. Hence it follows 
incontrovertibly, that one who uses his understanding aright 
can fall a prey to no sorrow. How should he ? since he 
finds repose in that good which is all that is good, and in 
which there is the fulness of all joy and contentment.! 

Sorrow, then, comes from opinion or want of understand 
ing, as explained.!! 

10 J B abridges the paragraph as follows : Lastly, he who uses his 
understanding aright must necessarily know that God is the first 
and the highest ; and rest in him as this supreme good : whence it 
follows that, since he finds therein all joy and full contentment, no 
sorrow can befall him. 

It B omits the last sentence. 



WE shall now proceed to speak of Esteem and Contempt, of 
Self-respect and Humility, of Conceit and Culpable Humility. 
We shall take them in the above order, and try to distinguish 
accurately what is good and what is bad in them. 

Esteem and Contempt are felt in so far as we know a thing 
to be something great or small, be this great or little thing 
in us or outside 

Self-respect does not extend [to anything] outside us, I0 
and is only attributed to one who knows the real worth of 
his perfection, dispassionately and without seeking esteem 
for himself. 

Humility is felt when any one knows his own imperfec 
tion, without regard to the contempt [of others] for him 
self ;JJt so that Humility does not refer to anything outside 
the humble man. 

Conceit is this, when some one attributes to himself a 
perfection which is not to be found in him. 

Culpable humility is this, when some one attributes to 20 
himself an imperfection which he has not. I am not 
speaking of those hypocrites who, without meaning it, 

J B enumerates all the topics in the heading of this and the 
following chapters. 

|J B begins this chapter as follows : In order to distinguish 
thoroughly the good and evil in these Passions we shall take them 
up in turn, beginning with Esteem and Contempt, which refer to 
something known that is in or outside us, the first relating to some 
thing great, the last, to something small. 

JtJ B : without any self-contempt. 3 o 


i humble themselves in order to deceive others ; I but only 
of those who really think they have the imperfections which 
they attribute to themselves. 

From these observations it is sufficiently evident what 
good and evil there is in each of these passions. For, as 
regards Self-respect and Humility, these showtheir excellence 
through themselves. For we say that the possessor there 
of knows his perfection and imperfection for what it 
And this, according to what Reason teaches us, is the 
10 most important thing for the attainment of our perfection. 
Because if we know exactly our powers and perfection, we 
see thereby clearly what it is we have to do in order to attain 
our good end. And, on the other hand, if we know our 
fault and frailty, then we know what we have to avoid. 

As regards Conceit and Culpable Humility, the definition 
of them already shows * sufficiently* that they arise from a 
certain opinion ; for we said that it [conceit] is attributed 
to one who ascribes to himself a certain perfection, although 
he does not possess it, and culpable humility is the precise 
20 opposite. 

From what has just been said it is evident, then, that just 
as Self-respect and True Humility are good and salutary, 
so, on the contrary, Conceit and Culpable Humility are bad 
and pernicious. For those [Self-respect and True Humility] 
not only put their possessor into a very good attitude, but 
are also, besides, the right ladder by which we may rise to 
supreme bliss. But these [Conceit and Culpable Humility] 
not only prevent us from attaining to our perfection, but 
also lead us to utter ruin. Culpable Humility is what pre- 
30 vents us from doing that which we should otherwise have 
to do in order to become perfect ; we see this, for instance, 
in the case of the Sceptics, who, just because they deny that 

t B : who without really meaning it make a show of humbling 
themselves simply in order to deceive others. 
B : for their true worth. 


man can attain to any truth, deprive themselves thereof i 
through this very denial. Conceit *on the other hand* is 
what makes us undertake things which tend straight to our 
ruin ; as is seen in the case of all those who had the conceit, 
and have the conceit, that they stood, and stand, wondrously 
well in the opinion of God, and consequently brave fire and 
water, and thus, avoiding no danger, and facing every risk, 
they die most miserably. 

As regards Esteem and Contempt, there is no more to 
be said about them, we have only to recall to memory what 10 
we said before about Love. 



WE shall now begin to speak of Hope and Fear, of Confi 
dence, Despair, and Vacillation, of Courage, Boldness and 
Emulation, of Pusillanimity and Timidity, *and lastly of 
Jealousy,* and, as is our wont, we shall take them one by 
one, and then indicate which of these can hinder us, and 
which can profit us. We shall be able to do all this very 
easily, if only we attend closely to the thoughts that we can 
10 have about a thing that is yet to come, be it good, be it 

*The ideas which we have about things have reference 

1. To the things themselves ; or, 

2. To the person who has the ideas.* 

The ideas that we have as regards the thing itself are 
these, either the thing is regarded by us as accidental, that 
is as something which may come or may not come, or [we 
think] that it necessarily must come. So much as regards 

20 the thing itself. 

Next, as regards him who thinks about the thing, the 
case is this : he must do something either in order to 
advance the thing, or in order to prevent it. Now from 
these thoughts all these passions result as follows : when 
we think that a certain thing which is yet to come is good 
and that it can happen, the soul assumes, in consequence of 
this, that form which we call hope, which is nothing else 
than a certain kind of joy, though mingled with some 

30 And, on the other hand, if we judge that that which may 



be coming is bad, then that form enters into our soul which i 
we call fear. 

If, however, the thing is regarded by us as good, and, at 
the same time, as something that necessarily must come, 
then there comes into the soul that repose which we call 
confidence ; which is a certain joy not mingled with sorrow, 
as hope is. 

But when we think that the thing is bad, and that it 
necessarily must come, then despair enters into the soul ; 
which is nothing else than a certain kind of sorrow. 10 

So far we have spoken of the passions considered in this 
chapter, and given positive definitions of the same, and have 
thus stated what each of them is ; we may now proceed in 
a converse manner, and define them negatively. We hope 
that the evil may not come, we fear lest the good should not 
come, we are confident that the evil will not come, we despair 
because the good will not come. 

Having said this much about the passions in so far as 
they arise from our thoughts concerning the thing itself, 
we have now to speak of those which arise from the 20 
thoughts relating to him who thinks about the thing ; 
namely : 

If something must be done in order to bring the thing 
about, and we come to no decision concerning it, then the 
soul receives that form which we call vacillation. But when 
it makes a manly resolve to produce the thing, and this can 
be brought about, then that is called courage ; and if the 
thing is difficult to effect, then that is called intrepidity or 

When, however, some one decides to do a thing because 30 
another (who had done it first) has met with success, then 
we call it emulation. * Lastly,* 

If any one knows what he must decide to do in order to 
advance a good thing, and to hinder a bad one, and yet 
does not do so, then we call it pusillanimity ; and when the 


i same is very great, we call it timidity. Lastly, jealousness or 
jalousie is the anxiety which we feel that we may have 
the sole enjoyment and possession of something already 

Since we know now whence these passions originate, it 
will be very easy for us to show which of them are good, 
and which are bad. 

As regards Hope, Fear, Confidence, Despair, and Jealousy, 
it is certain that they arise from a wrong opinion. For, as 

10 we have already shown above, all things have their neces 
sary causes, and must necessarily happen just as they do 
happen. And although Confidence and Despair seem to have 
a place in the inviolable order and sequence of causes t *or 
to confirm the same,* yet (when the truth of the matter is 
rightly looked into) that is far from being the case. For 
Confidence and Despair never arise, unless Hope and Fear 
(from which they derive their being) have preceded them. 
For example, if any one thinks that something, for which 
he still has to wait, is good, then he receives that form in 

20 his soul which we call Hope ; and when he is confident 
about *the aquisition of* the supposed good, his soul gains 
that repose which we call Confidence. What we are now 
saying about confidence, the same must also be said about 
Despair. But, according to that which we have said about 
Love, this also can have no place in a perfect man : be 
cause they presuppose things which, owing to the mutability 
to which they are subject (as remarked in our account of 
Love), we must not become attached to ; nor (as shown in 
our account of Hatred) may we even have an aversion to 

30 them. The man, however, who persists in these passions 
is at all times subject to such attachment and aversion. 

As regards Vacillation, Pusillanimity, and Timidity, these 
betray their imperfection through their very character and 
nature : for whatsoever they do to our advantage comes 
I A adds here : (because there all is inviolable and unalterable.) 


only negatively from the effects of their nature. For i 
example, some one hopes for something which he thinks 
is good, although it is not good, yet, owing to his vacilla 
tion or pusillanimity, he happens to lack the courage neces 
sary for its realisation, and so it comes about that he is 
negatively or by accident saved from the evil which he 
thought was good. These *Passions,* therefore, can also 
have no place whatever in the man who is guided by true 

Lastly, as regards Courage, Boldness, and Emulation, 10 
about these there is nothing else to be said than that which 
we have already said about Love and Hatred. 



ON the present occasion we shall speak, though briefly, 
about remorse and repentance. These never arise except as 
the result of rashness ; because remorse comes only from 
this, that we do something about which we are then in 
doubt whether it is good, or whether it is bad ; and repent 
ance, from this, that we have done something which is 

10 And since many people (who use their understanding 
aright) sometimes (because they lack that habitual readiness 
which is required in order that the understanding may at 
all times be used aright) go astray, it might perchance be 
thought that such Remorse and Repentance might soon set 
them right again, and thence it might be inferred, as the 
whole world does infer, that they are good.! If, however, 
we will get a proper insight into them, we shall find that 
they are not only not good, but that they are, on the con 
trary, pernicious, and that they are consequently bad. For 

20 it is obvious that we always succeed better through Reason 
and the love of truth than through remorse and sorrow. 
They are, therefore, pernicious and bad, because they are 
a certain kind of sorrow, which [sorrow] we have already 
shown above to be injurious, and which, for that reason, 
we must try to avert as an evil, and consequently we 
must likewise shun and flee from these also, which are 
like it. 

J B continues : but, on the other hand, when we look into the 
matter thoroughly the case is quite otherwise, for we shall find that 
30 they are not only not good . . . 




DERISION and jesting rest on a false opinion, and betray an 
imperfection in him who derides and jests. 

The opinion on which they rest is false, because it is 
supposed that he who is derided is the first cause of the 
effects which he produces, and that they do not necessarily 
(like the other things in Nature) depend on God. They 
betray an imperfection in the Derider ; because either that 
which is derided is such that it is derisible, or it is not 10 
such. If it is not such, then it shows bad manners, to 
deride that which is not to be derided ; if it is such, then 
they [who deride it] show thereby that they recognise some 
imperfection in that which they deride, which they ought to 
remedy, not by derision, but much rather by good reasoning. 

Laughter does not refer to another, but only to the man 
who observes some good in himself ; and since it is a 
certain kind of Joy, there is nothing else to be said about 
it than what has already been said about Joy. 1 speak of 
such laughter as is caused by a certain Idea which provokes t 20 
one to it, and not at all of such laughter as is caused by 
the movement of the [vital] spirits ; as to this (since it has 
no reference to good or to evil) we had no intention to 
speak of it here. 

As to Envy, Anger, Indignation, we shall say nothing 
about them here, but only just refer back to what we have 
already said above concerning hatred. 

t B continues thus : the laugher thereto without any reference to 
good or evil, and not at all of such laughter as is caused in him 
by the movement of the [vital] spirits ; it was not our intention to 30 
speak of this. Again, . . . 




WE shall now also briefly consider glory, shame, and shame- 
lessness.l The first tt is a certain kind of Joy which every 
one feels in himself whenever he becomes aware that his 
conduct is esteemed and praised by others, without regard 
to any other advantage or profit which they may have in 

Shame is a certain * kind of * sorrow which arises in one 
10 when he happens to see that his conduct is despised by 
others, without regard to any other disadvantage or injury 
that they may have in view. 

Shamelessness is nothing else than a want, or shaking off, 
of shame, not through Reason, but either from innocence 
of shame, as is the case with children, savage people, &c., 
or because, having been held in great contempt, one goes 
now to any length without regard for anything. 

Now that we know these passions, we also know, at the 
same time, the vanity and imperfection which they have in 
20 them. For Glory and Shame are not only of no advantage, 
because of what we have observed in their definitions, but 
also (inasmuch as they are based on self-love, and on the 
opinion that man is the first cause of his action, and there 
fore deserving of praise and blame) they are pernicious and 
must be rejected. 

I will not, however, say that one ought to live among 
men in the same way that one would live away from them, 
where Glory and Shame have no place ; quite the contrary, 

t B omits this sentence. 

S o tt A : De eerste [The first] ; B : De eere [Glory]. 



I admit that we are not only free to utilise them, when we i 
apply them in the service of mankind and for their 
amelioration, but that we may even do so at the price of 
curtailing our o\vn (otherwise perfect and legitimate) 
freedom. For example : if any one wears costly clothes in 
order to be respected, he seeks a Glory which results from 
his self-love without any consideration for his fellow-men ; 
but when some one observes that his wisdom (wherewith 
he can be of service to his neighbours) is despised and 
trampled under foot * simply * because he is dressed in I( 
shabby clothes, then he will do well if (from the motive to 
help them) he provides himself with clothes to which they 
cannot take exception, thereby becoming like his fellow- 
man in order that he may win over his fellow-man. 

Further, as regards Shamelessness, this shows itself to 
be such that in order to see its deformity all that we need 
is merely its definition, and that will be enough for us. 



Now follows [the consideration] of favour, gratitude, and 
ingratitude. As regards the first two, they are the inclina 
tions which the soul has to wish and to do some good to 
one s neighbour. I say, to wish, [this happens] when good 
is returned to one who has done some good ; I say, to do, 
[this is the case] when we ourselves have obtained or received 
some good. 

I0 I am well aware that almost all people consider these 
affects to be good ; but, notwithstanding this, I venture to say 
that they can have no place in a perfect man. For a perfect 
man is moved to help his fellow-man by sheer necessity 
only, and by no other cause, and therefore he feels it all 
the more to be his duty to help the most godless, seeing 
that his misery and need are so much greater. 

Ingratitude is a disregard * or shaking off * of Gratitude, 
as Shamelessness is of Shame, and that without any rational 
ground, but solely as the result either of greed or of 

20 immoderate self-love ; and that is why it can have no place 
in a perfect man. 




GRIEF shall be the last of which we shall speak in our treat 
ment of the passions, and with it we will conclude. Now 
grief is a certain kind of sorrow arising from the contem 
plation of some good which we have lost, and [lost] in such 
a way that there is no hope of recovering the same. It makes 
its imperfection so manifest that as soon as we only examine 
it we think it bad. For we have already shown above 
that it is bad to bind and link ourselves to things which 10 
may easily, or at some time, fail us, and which we cannot 
have when we want them. And since it is a certain kind 
of sorrow, we have to shun it, as we have already remarked 
above, when we were treating of sorrow. 

I think, now, that I have already shown and proved 
sufficiently that it is only True Belief or Reason that leads 
us to the knowledge of good and evil. And so when we 
come to prove that Knowledge is the first and principal 
cause t of all these passions, it will be clearly manifest that 
if we use our understanding and Reason aright, it should 20 
be impossible for us ever to fall a prey to one of these 
* passions* which we ought to reject. I say our Under 
standing, because I do not think that Reason alone is com 
petent to free us from all these : as we shall afterwards show 
in its proper place. 

We must, however, note here as an excellent thing about 
the passions, that we see and find that all the passions which 

I B omitted " cause," but the word seems to have been inserted 
recently perhaps by Van Vloten, as a marginal pencil note 
suggests. 30 



i are good are of such kind and nature that we cannot be or 
exist without them, and that they belong, as it were, to our 
essence ; such is the case with Love, Desire, and all that 
pertains to love. 

But the case is altogether different with those which are 
bad and must be rejected by us ; seeing that we cannot 
only exist very well without these, but even that only then, 
when we have freed ourselves from them, are we really what 
we ought to be. 

10 To give still greater clearness to all this, it is useful to 
note that the foundation of all good and evil is Love 
bestowed on a certain object : for if we do not love that object 
which (nota bene) alone is worthy of being loved, namely, 
God, as we have said before, but things which through 
their very character and nature are transient, then (since 
the object is liable to so many accidents, ay, even to 
annihilation) there necessarily results hatred, sorrow, &c., 
according to the changes in the object loved. Hatred, 
when any one deprives him of what he loves. Sorrow, 

20 when he happens to lose it. Glory, when he leans on self- 
love. Favour and Gratitude, when he does not love his 
fellow-man for the sake of God. 

But, in contrast with all these, when man comes to love 
God who always is and remains immutable, then it is 
impossible for him to fall into this welter of passions. 
And for this reason we state it as a fixed and immovable 
principle that God is the first and only cause of all our 
good and delivers us from all our evil. 

Hence it is also to be noted * lastly,* that only Love, &c., 

30 are limitless : namely, that as it increases more and more, 
so also it grows more excellent, because it is bestowed on 
an object which is infinite, and can therefore always go 
on increasing, which can happen in the case of no other 
thing except this alone. And, maybe, this will after- 


wards give us the material from which we shall prove i 
the immortality of the soul, and how or in what way this 
is possible.! 

Having so far considered all that the third kind of It 
effect of true belief makes known we shall now proceed to 
speak, * in what follows,* of the fourth, and last, effect 
which was not stated by us on page 75-111 

B : And this will give us the material from which we shall, in 
the 23rd chapter, make out a case for, and prove, the immortality 
of the Soul. [A marginal note in A also refers to chapter xxiii.] 10 

It A and B : or. 

~t~tt A gives this sentence in a foot-note B in the body of the 
text, as above. 


LET us now examine the true and the false, which indicate 
to us the fourth, and last, consequence of true belief. Now, 
in order to do this, we shall first state the definitions of 
Truth and Falsity. Truth is an affirmation (or a denial) 
made about a certain thing, which agrees with that same 
thing ; and Falsity is an affirmation (or a denial) about a 
thing, which does not agree with the thing itself. But this 

10 being so, it may appear that there is no difference between 
the false and the true Idea, or, since the [affirmation or] 
denial of this or that are mere J modes of thought, and 
[the true and the false Idea] differ in no other way II 
except that the one agrees with the thing, and the other 
does not, that they are therefore, not really, but only 
logically Jtt different ; and if this should be so, one may 
justly ask, what advantage has the one from his Truth, and 
what harm does the other incur through his falsity ? and 
how shall the one know that his conception or Idea agrees 

20 with the thing more than the other does ? lastly, whence 
does it come that the one errs, and the other does not ? 

To this it may, in the first place, serve as an answer that 
the clearest things of all make known both themselves and 

| Literally " true," but the translator probably mistook merus 
for verus. 

It In B this sentence begins as follows : " But since the affirma 
tion or denial of this or that are mere J modes of thought, there 
seems to be no difference between the true and the false idea 
except that," &c. 

30 Itt door reeden [through reason.] 



also what is false, in such a manner that it would be a great i 
folly to ask how we are to become aware of them : for, 
since they are said to be the clearest of all, there can never 
be any other clearness through which they might be made 
clear ; it follows, therefore, that truth at once reveals itself 
and also what is false, because truth is made clear through 
truth, that is through itself, and through it also is falsity 
made clear ; but falsity is never revealed and made mani 
fest through itself. So that any one who is in possession 
of the truth cannot doubt that he possesses it, while one o 
who is sunk in falsity or in error can well suppose 
that he has got at the truth ; just as some one who is 
dreaming can well think that he is awake, but one who 
is actually awake can never think that he is dreaming. 

These remarks also explain to some extent what we 
said about God being the Truth, or that the Truth is God 

Now the reason why the one is more conscious of his 
truth than the other is, is because the Idea of [his] affirma 
tion (or denial) entirely agrees with the nature of the thing, 20 
and consequently has more essence.! It may help some to 
grasp this better if it be observed that Understanding 
(although the word does not sound like it) is a mere or 
pure passivity ; that is, that our soul is changed in such a 
way that it receives other modes of thought, which it did 
not have before. Now when some one, in consequence of 
the whole object having acted upon him, receives corre 
sponding forms or modes of thought, then it is clear that 
he receives a totally different feeling of the form or 
character of the object than does another who has not 3 
had so many causes [acting upon him], and is therefore 
moved to make an affirmation or denial about that thing by 

J B : . . . because in the former case the Idea of the affirmation 
(or denial) which entirely agrees with the nature of the thing has so 
much more essence. 


1 a different and slighter action (because he becomes aware 
of it only through a few, or the less important, of its attri 
butes). t From this, then, we see the perfection of one who 
takes his stand upon Truth, as contrasted with one who 
does not take his stand upon it. Since the one changes 
easily, while the other does not change easily, it follows 
therefrom that the one has more stability and essence than 
the other has : likewise, since the modes of thought which 
agree with the thing have had more causes [to produce 

.o them] they have also more stability and essence in them : 
and, since they entirely agree with the thing, it is impos 
sible that they should after a time be made different or 
undergo some change, * all the less so * because we have 
already seen before that the essence of a thing is unchange 
able. Such is not the case with falsity. And with these 
remarks all the above questions will be sufficiently answered. 

I Text imperfect. See Commentary. 



Now that we know the nature of Good and Evil, Truth 
and Falsity, and also wherein the well-being of a perfect 
man consists, it is time to begin to examine ourselves, and 
to see whether we attain to such well-being voluntarily or of 

To this end it is necessary to inquire what the Will is, 
according to those who posit a Will,t and wherein it is 
different from Desire. Desire, we have said, is the inclina- I0 
tion which the soul has towards something which it chooses 
as a good ; whence it follows that before our desire inclines 
towards something outside, we have already inwardly decided 
that such a thing is good, and this affirmation, or, stated 
more generally, the power to affirm and to deny, is called 
the Will.t 

It thus turns on the question whether our Affirmations 
are made voluntarily or necessarily, that is, whether we can 

t B omits the words " according . . . Will." 

t Now the Will, regarded as Affirmation or Decision * is different 20 
from true Belief and from Opinion. It * differs from True Belief 
in this, that it extends also to that which is not truly good ; and 
this is so because it lacks that conviction whereby it is clearly seen 
that it cannot be otherwise ; in the case of true belief there is, and 
must be, this conviction, because from it none but good desires 

But it also differs from Opinion in this, that it can sometimes be 
quite infallible and certain ; this is not the case with Opinion, which 
consists in guessing and supposing. 

So that we can call it Belief in so far as it can proceed with 30 
certainty, and Opinion in so far as it is subject to error. 



i make any affirmation or denial about a thing without some 
external cause compelling us to do so. Now we have 
already shown that a thing which is not explained t 
through itself, or whose existence does not pertain to its 
essence, must necessarily have an external cause ; and that 
a cause which is to produce something must produce it 
necessarily ; it must therefore also follow that each separate 
act of willing t this or that, each separate act of affirming 
or denying this or that of a thing, these, I say, must also 

10 result from some external cause : so also the definition 
which we have given of a cause is, that it cannot be 

Possibly this will not satisfy some who are accustomed to 
keep their understanding busy with things of Reason more 

t B : which does not exist. 

t It is certain that each separate volition must have an external 
cause through which it comes into being ; for, seeing that existence 
does not pertain to its essence, its existence must necessarily be due 
to the existence of something else. 

20 As to the view that the efficient cause JJ thereof is not an Idea 
but the human Will itself, and that the Understanding is a cause 
without which the will can do nothing, so that the Will in its un 
determined form, and also the Understanding, are not things of 
Reason, but real entities so far as I am concerned, whenever I 
consider them attentively they appear to be universals, and I can 
attribute no reality to them. Even if it be so, however, still it must 
be admitted that Willing is a modification of the Will, and that the 
Ideas are a mode of the Understanding ; the Understanding and 
the Will are therefore necessarily distinct, and really distinct sub- 

30 stances, because [only] substance is modified, and not the mode 
itself. As the soul is said to direct these two substances, it must 
be a third substance. All these things are so confused that it is 
impossible to have a clear and distinct conception about them. 
For, since the Idea is not in the Will, but in the Understanding, 
and in consequence of the rule that the mode of one substance 
cannot pass over into the other substance, love cannot arise in the 

Jt A: the idea of the efficient cause. 


than with Particular things which really exist in Nature ; i 
and, through doing so, they come to regard a thing of 
Reason not t as such, but as a real thing, tt. For, because 
man has now this, now that volition, he forms in his soul a 
general mode which he calls Will, just as from this man 
and that man he also forms the Idea of man ; ttt and 
because he does not adequately distinguish the real things 
from the things of Reason, he comes to regard the things 
of Reason as things which really exist in Nature, and so he 
regards himself as a cause of some things. This happens 10 
not infrequently in the treatment of the subject about which 
we are speaking. For if any one is asked why people 
want this or that, the answer usually given is, because they 
have a will. But, since the Will, as we have said, is only 

will : because to will something when there is no idea of that thing 
in the willing power involves self-contradiction. If you say that 
the Will, owing to its union with the Understanding, also becomes 
aware of that which the Understanding understands, and thus also 
loves it, * one may retort to this : * but since awareness is also 
an apprehension, mi it is therefore also a mode of understand- 20 
ing ; following the above, however, this cannot be in the Will, even 
if its union [with the Will] were like that of the soul and body. 
For suppose that the body is united with the soul, as the 
philosophers generally maintain, even so the body never feels, nor 
does the soul become extended. IltiJ. When they say that the Soul 
directs both the Understanding and the Will, this is * not only * 
inconceivable, * but even self-contradictory,* because by saying so 
they seem to deny that the will is free, which is opposed to their 

J B : no more. 

tt : B continues : and thus regard themselves as the cause of 30 
some things; as happens not infrequently in the matter about which 
we are at present speaking. 

Jit B continues : if then the question is asked, why people want 
this or that, they answer . . . 

I A: an apprehension [or "conception"] and a confused idea. 
HI 1 1 A continues : For then a Chimera, in which we conceive two sub 
stances, might become one ; this is false. 


* an Idea of our willing this or that, and therefore only a 
mode of thought, a thing of Reason, and not a real thing, 
nothing can be caused by it ; for out of nothing, nothing 
comes. And so, as we have shown that the will is not a 
thing in Nature, but only in fancy, I also think it unneces 
sary to ask whether the will is free or not free. 

I say this not [only] of will in general, which we have 
shown to be a mode of thought, but also of the particular 
act of willing this or that, which act of willing some have 

10 identified with affirmation and denial. Now this should 
be clearly evident to every one who only attends to what 
we have already said. For we have said that the under- 

view. But, to conclude, I have no inclination to adduce all my 
objections against positing a created finite substance. I shall only 
show briefly that the Freedom of the Will does not in any way 
accord with such an enduring creation ; namely, that the same 
activity J J is required of God in order to maintain * a thing * in 
existence as to create it, and that otherwise the thing could not last 
for a moment ; as this is so, nothing can be attributed to it.Jtt 

20 But we must say that God has created it just as it is ; for as it 
has no power to maintain itself in existence while it exists, much 
less, then, can it produce something by itself. If, therefore, any 
one should say that the soul produces the volition from itself, then 
I ask, by what power ? Not by that which has been, for it is no 
more ; also not by that which it has now, for it has none at all 
whereby it might exist or last for a single moment, because it is 
continuously created anew. Thus, then, as there is no thing that 
has any power to maintain itself, or to produce anything, there 
remains nothing but to conclude that God alone, therefore, is and 

30 must be the efficient cause of all things, and that all acts of Volition 
are determined by him * alone.* 

In B this paragraph begins thus : " Now in order to understand 
whether we are really free, or not free in any particular act of 
willing, that is of affirming or denying this or that, we must recall 
to our memory what we have already said, namely, ..." 

JJ B: . . . such an enduring creation [as they admit; for, if one and the 
same activity . . . 

HI B: . . . as this is so, no causality can be attributed to the thing. 


standing is purely passive ; it is an awareness, in the i 
soul, of the essence and existence of things ; so that it 
is never we who affirm or deny something of a thing, but 
it is the thing itself that affirms or denies, in us, something 
of itself. 

Possibly some will not admit this, because it seems to 
them that they are well able to affirm or to deny of the 
thing something different from what they know about 
the thing. But this is only because they have no idea of the 
conception which the soul has of the thing apart from or 10 
without the words I [in which it is expressed]. It is quite 
true that (when there are reasons which prompt us to do so) 
we can, in words or by some other means, represent the 
thing to others differently from what we know it to be ; but 
we can never bring it so far, either by words or by any other 
means, that we should feel about the things differently from 
what we feel about them ; that is impossible, and clearly so 
to all who have for once attended to their understanding 
itself apart from the use of words or other significant 
signs. 20 

Against this, however, some perchance may say : If it is not 
we, but the thing itself, that makes the affirmation and denial 
about itself in us, then nothing can be affirmed or denied 
except what is in agreement with the thing ; and conse 
quently there is no falsity. For we have said that falsity 
consists in affirming (or denying) aught of a thing which 
does not accord with that thing ; that is, what the thing does 
not affirm or deny about itself. I think, however, that if 
only we consider well what we have already said about Truth 
and Falsity, then we shall see at once that these objections 3 
have already been sufficiently answered. For we have said 
that the object is the cause of what is affirmed or denied 

t B : . . . because they make no distinction between the idea 
which the soul has of a thing, and the words in which the same is 



i thereof,! be it true or false : * falsity arising thus,* namely, 
because, when we happen to know something * or a part * 
of an object, we imagine tt that the object (although we only 
know very little of it) nevertheless affirms or denies that of 
itself as a whole ; this takes place mostly in feeble souls, 
which receive very easily a mode or ttt an idea through a 
slight action of the object, and make no further affirmation 
or denial apart from this. 

Lastly, it might also be objected that there are many 

10 things which we * sometimes * want and [sometimes also] 
do not want, tttt as, for example, to assert something about 
a thing or not to assert it, to speak the truth, and not to 
speak it, and so forth. But this results from the fact that 
Desire is not adequately distinguished from Will, ttttt 
For the Will, according to those who maintain that there is 
a Will, is only the activity of the understanding whereby 
we affirm or deny something about a thing, with regard to 
good or evil. Desire, however, is the disposition of the soul 
to obtain or to do something for the sake of the good or evil 

20 that is discerned therein ; so that even after we have made 
an affirmation or denial about the thing, Desire still remains, 
namely, when we have ascertained or affirmed that the thing 

t A : ... the cause of that about which something is affirmed 
or denied ; B : the cause of our affirmation or denial thereof, . . . 

tt B continues : that the whole is such ; this takes place . . . 

ttt B omits "a mode or." 

tttt B continues : or about which we [sometimes] assert some 
thing, and [sometimes] do not assert it ... 

ttttt B continues as follows : For, although they are both ol 
30 them an affirmation or denial of a thing, they nevertheless differ in 
this that the last occurs without regard, and the first with reference, 
to the good or evil which is discerned in the thing : so that, even 
after we have made the affirmation or denial about the thing, the 
Desire itself remains, namely, to obtain or to do what we have 
ascertained or affirmed to be good, so that the Will may well exist 
without the Desire, but not the Desire without the Will. 


is good ; such is the Will, according to their statements, i 
while desire is the inclination, which we only subsequently 
feel, to advance it so that, even according to their own 
statements, the Will may well exist without the Desire, 
but not the Desire without the Will, which must have 
preceded it. 

All the activities, therefore, which we have discussed 
above (since they are carried out through Reason under the 
appearance of good, or are hindered by Reason under the 
appearance of evil) can only be subsumed under that inch- 10 
nation which is called Desire, and by no means under the 
designation of Will, which is altogether inappropriate. 



Now that it is known that we have no * free * will to make 
an affirmation or a denial, let us just see what is the correct 
and true distinction between will and desire, or what may 
the Will be which was called by the Latins voluntas. t 

According to Aristotle s definition, Desire appears to 
be a genus containing two species. For he says that the 

10 Will is the longing or inclination which one feels towards 
that which * is or * seems good. Whence it appears to me 
that by Desire (or cupiditas) he means any inclination, be it 
towards good, be it towards evil ; but when the inclination 
is only towards what is * or appears to be * good, or when 
the man who has such inclination, has it under the 
appearance of good, then he calls it voluntas or good will ; 
while, if it is bad, that is, when we observe in another an 
inclination towards something which is bad, tt he calls that 
voluptas or bad will. So that the inclination of the soul is 

20 not something whereby affirmations or denials are made, 
but only an inclination to obtain something which appears 
to be good, and ttt to flee from what appears to be bad. 

It, therefore, remains to inquire now whether the Desire 
is free or not free. In addition to what we have already 
said, namely, that Desire depends on the idea of its objects, and 
that this understanding must have an external cause, and in 
addition also to what we have said about the will, it still 

t B adds : or good will. 

tt B : and if, on the contrary, it is bad, or towards evil . . . 
3 o ttt B : or. 



remains to prove that Desire is not free. Many people, i 
although they see quite well that the knowledge which man 
has of various things is a medium through which his longing 
or inclination passes over from one thing to another, yet 
fail to observe what that may be which thus lures the 
inclination from the one to the other. 

However, to show that this inclination of ours is not of 
our own free will (and in order to present vividly before 
our eyes what it is to pass over, and to be drawn, from one 
thing to another), we shall imagine a child becoming aware 10 
of something for the first time. For example, I hold before 
him a little Bell, which produces a pleasant sound for his 
ears, so that he conceives a longing for it ; consider now 
whether he could really help feeling this longing or desire. 
If you say, Yes, then I ask, how, through what cause * is this 
to happen * ? Certainly not through something which he 
knows to be better, because this is all that he knows ; nor, 
again, through its appearing to be bad to him, for he knows 
nothing else, and this pleasure is the very best that has ever 
come to him. But perchance he has the freedom to banish 20 
from him the longing which he feels ; whence it would 
follow that this longing may well arise in us without our 
free will, but that all the same we have in us the freedom to 
banish it from us. This freedom, however, will not bear 
examination ; for what, t indeed, might it be that shall be 
able to annihilate the longing ? The longing itself ? Surely 
no, for there is nothing that through its own nature seeks 
its own undoing. What then might it ultimately be that 
shall be able to wean him from his longing ? Nothing else, 
forsooth, except that in the natural order and course of 3 
things he is affected by something which he finds more 
pleasant than the first. And, therefore, just as, when we were 
considering the Will, we said that the human Will is nothing 

IB: I say that this freedom will not stand the slightest test. 
This will be clearly evident ; for what, . . . 


i but this and that Volition, so also man has no other than this 
and that Desire which is caused by this and that idea ; J 
Desire [in the abstract] is not anything actually existing in 
Nature, but is only an abstraction from the particular acts 
of desiring this or that. Desire, then, as it is not really any 
thing, can also not really cause anything. So that when we 
say that Desire is free, it is just as much as if we said that 
this or that Desire is its own cause that is, that before it 
existed it had already arranged that it should exist ; which 
10 is absurdity itself, and cannot be. 

I B concludes this chapter as follows : If then we say that Desire 
is free, it is just as if we had said that this or that Desire is the 
cause of itself, and, already before it existed, had brought it about 
that it should exist : which is absurdity itself and is impossible. 
And Desire, regarded as a universal, being nothing but an abstrac 
tion from the particular acts of desiring this or that, and, beyond 
this, not actually existing in Nature, can, as such, also cause 



THUS we see now that man, being a part of the whole of 
Nature, on which he depends, and by which also he is 
governed, cannot of himself do anything for his happiness 
and well-being ; let us, then, just see what Uses we can 
derive from these propositions of ours. And this [is] all 
the more [necessary] because we have no doubt that they 
will appear not a little offensive to some. 

In the first place, it follows therefrom that we are truly m 
servants, aye, slaves, of God, and that it is our greatest 
perfection to be such necessarily. For, if we were thrown 
back upon ourselves, and thus not dependent on God, we 
should be able to accomplish very little, or nothing, and 
that would justly give us cause to lament our lot ; especially 
so in contrast with what we now see, namely, that we are 
dependent on that which is the most perfect of all, in such 
a way that we exist also as a part of the whole, that is, of 
him ; and we contribute, so to say, also our share to the 
realisation of so many skilfully ordered and perfect works, 20 
which depend on him. I 

Secondly, this knowledge brings it about that we do not 
grow proud when we have accomplished something excel 
lent (which pride causes us to come to a standstill, because 

B : In the first place, because we depend on that which is the 
most perfect of all, in such a way that, being also a part of the 
whole, that is, of him, we also contribute our share to the realisation 
of so many skilfully ordered and perfect works, which depend on 
him, it follows therefore that we are God s servants, and that it is 
our greatest perfection to be such necessarily. 30 


i we think that we are already great, and that we need do 
nothing further ; thereby militating precisely against our 
own perfection, which consists in this that we must at all 
times endeavour to advance further and further) ; but that, 
on the contrary, we attribute all that we do to God, who is 
the first and only cause of all that we accomplish and 
succeed in effecting. 

Thirdly, in addition to the fact that this knowledge 
inspires us with a real love of our neighbour, it shapes us 

10 so that we never hate him, nor are we angry with him, but 
love to help him, and to improve his condition. All these 
are the actions of such men as have great perfection or 

Fourthly, this knowledge also serves to promote the 
greatest Common Good, because through it a judge can 
never side with one party more than with the other, and 
when compelled to punish the one, and to reward the other, 
he will do it with a view to help and to improve the one as 
much as the other. 

20 Fifthly, this knowledge frees us from Sorrow, from 
Despair, from Envy, from Terror, and other evil passions, 
which, as we shall presently say, constitute the real hell 

Sixthly, J this knowledge brings us so far that we cease 
to stand in awe of God, as others do of the Devil (whom 
they imagine), lest he should do them harm. For why 
indeed should we fear God, who is the highest good itself, 
through whom all ihings are what they are, and also we 
who live in him ? 

30 * Seventhly,* this knowledge also brings us so far that we 
attribute all to God, love him alone because he is the most 
glorious and the most perfect, and thus offer ourselves up 
entirely to him ; for these really constitute both the true 
service of God and our own eternal happiness and bliss. 

J A adds : and lastly. 


For the sole perfection and the final end of a slave and of a i 
tool is this, that they duly fulfil the task imposed on them. 
For example, if a carpenter, while doing some work, finds 
his Hatchet of excellent service, then this Hatchet has thereby 
attained its end and perfection ; but if he should think : 
this Hatchet has rendered me such good service now, 
therefore I shall let it rest, and exact no further service 
from it, then precisely this Hatchet would fail of its end, 
and be a Hatchet no more. Thus also is it with man, so 
long as he is a part of Nature he must follow the laws of 10 
Nature, and this is divine service ; and so long as he does 
this, it is well with him. But if God should (so to say) will 
that man should serve him no more, that would be equiva 
lent to depriving him of his well-being and annihilating 
him ; because all that he is consists in this, that he serves 



Now that we have seen the advantages of this True Belief, 
we shall endeavour to fulfil the promise we have made, 
namely, to inquire whether through the knowledge which 
we already have (as to what is good, what is evil, what truth 
is, and what falsity is, and what, in general, the uses of all 
these are), whether, I say, we can thereby attain to our well- 
being, namely, the Love of God (which we have remarked to 
10 be our supreme happiness), and also in what way we can free 
ourselves from the passions which we have judged to be bad. 
To begin with the consideration of the last, namely, of the 
liberation from the passions,! I say that, if we suppose that 
they have no other causes than those which we have assigned 
to them, then, provided only we use our understanding 
aright, as we can do very easily ft (now that we have a 

f All passions which come in conflict with good Reason (as is 
shown above) arise from Opinion. All that is good or bad in them, 
is shown to us by True Belief ; these, however both, or either of 

20 the two are not able to free us from them. It is only the third 
kind, namely, True Knowledge, that emancipates from them. And 
without this it is impossible that we should ever be set free from 
them, as will be shown subsequently (page 133). Might not this 
well be that about which, though under different designations, others 
say and write so much ? For who does not see how conveniently 
we can interpret opinion as sin ; belief, as the law which makes sin 
known and true knowledge, as grace which redeems us from sin ? 
ft Can do very easily ; that is to say, when we have a thorough 
knowledge of good and evil : for then it is impossible to be subject 

30 to that from which the passions arise : because when we know and 
enjoy what is best, that which is worst has no power over us. 



criterion of truth and falsity), we shall never fall into i 

But what we have now to prove is that they have no other 
causes ; for this, methinks, it is required that we should 
study ourselves in our entirety, having regard to the body 
as well as to the spirit. 

And first [we have] to show that in Nature there is a body 
through whose form and activities we are affected, and thus 
become aware of it. And the reason why we do this is, 
because when we get an insight into the activities of the 10 
body and the effects which they produce, then we shall also 
discover the first and foremost cause of all those passions ; 
and, at the same time, also that through which all those 
passions might be annihilated. From this we shall then also 
be able to see whether it is possible to do such a thing by the 
aid of Reason. And then we shall also proceed to speak 
about our Love of God. 

Now to prove that there is a body in Nature, can be no 
difficult task for us, now that we already know that God is, 
and what God is ; whom we have defined as a being of 20 
infinite attributes, each of which is infinite and perfect. And 
since extension is an attribute which we have shown to be 
infinite in its kind, it must therefore also necessarily be an 
attribute of that infinite being. And as we have also already 
demonstrated that this infinite being exists, it follows at once 
that this attribute also exists. 

Moreover, since we have also proved that outside Nature, 
which is infinite, there is, and can be, no being, it is clearly 
manifest that this effect of body through which we 
become aware [of it] can proceed from nothing else than 30 
from extension itself, and by no means from something else 
which (as some will have it) has extension in an eminent 
degree [eminenter] t : for (as we have already shown in the 
first chapter) there is no such thing. 

J B : which is more excellent than extension. 


i We have to remark, therefore, that all the effects which 
are seen to depend necessarily on extension must be attri 
buted to this attribute ; such as Motion and Rest. For if 
the power to produce these did not exist in Nature, then (even 
though it [Nature] might have many other attributes) it would 
be impossible that these should exist For if a thing is to 
produce something then there must be that in it through 
which it, rather than another, can produce that something. 

What we have just said here about extension, the same 
10 we also wish to be regarded as though it had been said about 
thought, and * further * about all that is. 

It is to be observed further, that there is nothing what 
ever in us, but we have the power to become aware of it : 
so that if we find that there is nothing else in us except the 
effects of the thinking thing and those of extension, then 
we may say with certainty that there is nothing else in us. 

In order that the workings of both these may be clearly 
understood, we shall take them up first each by itself only, 
and afterwards both together ; as also the effects of both 
20 the one and the other. 

Now when we consider extension alone, then we become 
aware of nothing else in it except Motion and Rest, from 
which we then discover all the effects that result there 
from. And these two t modes of body are such that it 
is impossible for any other thing to change them, except 
only themselves. Thus, for example, when a stone lies still, 
then it is impossible that it should be moved by the power 
of thought or anything else, but [it may] well [be moved] 
by motion, J as when another stone, having greater motion 
30 than this has rest, makes it move. Likewise also the moving 
stone will not be made to rest except through something 
else which has less motion. It follows, accordingly, that no 
mode of thought can bring motion or rest into a body. In 

f Two modes : because Rest is not Nothing. 
I B : by the motion of something else. 


accordance, however, with what we observe in ourselves, it i 
may well happen that a body which is moving now in one 
direction may nevertheless turn aside in another direction ; 
as when I stretch out my arm and thereby bring it about 
that the [vital] spirits which were already moving in a 
different direction,! nevertheless move now in this direction, 
though not always, but according to the disposition of the 
[vital] spirits, as will be stated presently. 

The cause of this can be none other than that the soul, 
being an Idea of this body, is united with it in such a way 10 
that it and this body, thus constituted, together form a whole. 

The most important effect of the other * or thinking * 
attribute is an Idea of things, which is such that, accord 
ing to the manner in which it apprehends them, there arises 
either Love or Hatred, &c. This effect, then, as it implies 
no extension, can also not be attributed to the same, but 
only to thought ; so that, whatever the changes which 
happen to arise in this mode, their cause must on no account 
be sought for in extension, but only in the thinking thing. 
We can see this, for instance, in the case of Love, which, 20 
whether it is to be suppressed or whether it is to be 
awakened, can only be thus affected through the idea it 
self, and this happens, as we have already remarked, either 
because something bad is perceived to be in the object, or 
because something better comes to be known.!! Now when 
ever these attributes happen to act the one on the other, 
there results a passivity which one suffers from the other ; 
namely [in the case of extension], through the determination 
of movements which we have the power to direct in what 
ever direction we please. The process, then, whereby the 3 
one comes to be passively affected by the other, is this : 

J B : which were already moving, though not in this direction. 

H B : either because something good is perceived in the loved 
object, or because something bad is perceived in the hated 


i namely, the soul in I the body, as has already been remarked, 
can well bring it about that the [vital] spirits, which would 
otherwise move in the one direction, should nevertheless 
move in the other direction ; and since these [vital] spirits 
can also be made to move, and therefore directed, by the 
body, it may frequently happen that, when the body directs 
their movements towards one place, while the soul directs 
them towards another place, they bring about and occasion 
in us those peculiar fits of depression which we sometimes 

10 feel without knowing the reasons why we have them. For 
otherwise the reasons are generally well known to us. 

Furthermore, the power which the soul has to move the 
[vital] spirits may well be hindered also either because the 
motion of the [vital] spirits is much diminished, or because 
it is much increased. Diminished, as when, having run 
much, we bring it about that the [vital] spirits, owing to 
this running, impart to the body much more than the usual 
amount of motion,!! and by losing this [motion] they are 
necessarily that much weakened ; this may also happen 

20 through taking all too little food. Increased, as when, by 
drinking too much wine or other strong drink, we thereby 
become either merry or drunk, and bring it about that the 
soul has no power to control the body. 

Having said thus much about the influences which the 
soul exercises on the body, let us now consider the influences 
of the body on the soul. The most important of these, we 
maintain, is that it causes the soul to become aware of it, 
and through it also of other bodies. This is effected by 
Motion and Rest conjointly, and by nothing else : for the 

30 body has nothing else than these wherewith to operate ; so 
that whatever else comes to the soul, besides this aware 
ness, cannot be caused through the body. And as the first 

t A and B : the soul and the body. 

H B continues thus : in which they had a strong in and 
through flow which weakened them. 


thing \vhich the soul gets to know is the body, the result is i 
that the soul loves it so, and becomes united with it. But 
since, as we have already said before, the cause of Love, 
Hatred, and Sorrow must not be sought for in the body but 
only in the soul (because all the activities of the body must 
proceed from motion and rest), and since we see clearly and 
distinctly that one love comes to an end as soon as we come 
to know something else that is better, it follows clearly from 
all this that, // once we get to know God, at least with a know 
ledge as clear as that with which we also know our body, then 10 
we must become united with him even more closely than we are 
with our body, and be, as it were, released from the body. I 
say more closely, because we have already proved before that 
without him we can neither be, nor be known ; and this is 
so because we know and must know him, not through some 
thing else, as is the case with all other things, but only 
through himself, as we have already said before. Indeed, 
we know him better even than we know ourselves, because 
without him we could not know ourselves at all. 

From what we have said so far it is easily gathered which 2 o 
are the chief causes of the passions. For, as regards the 
Body with its effects, Motion and Rest, t these cannot 
affect the soul otherwise except so as to make themselves 
known to it as objects ; and according to the appearances 
which they present to it, that is according as they appear 
good or bad,t so also is the soul affected by them, and that 

t B adds : or their effects. 

f But * if it be asked * whence comes it that we know that the 
one is good, the other bad ? Answer : Since it is the objects which 
cause us to become aware of them, we are affected by the one 30 
differently, in proportion than by the other. JJ Now these by which 
we are affected most harmoniously (as regards the proportion of 
motion and rest, of which they consist) are most agreeable to us,JJI 
and as they depart more and more from this [harmonious propor- 

H These six words are crossed out in A. 
Jit B omits the rest of this sentence. 


i [happens] not inasmuch as it is a body (for then the body 
would be the principal cause of the passions), but inasmuch 
as it is an object like all other things, which would also act 
in the same way if they happened to reveal themselves to the 
soul in the same way. (By this, however, I do not mean to say 
that the Love, Hatred, and Sorrow which proceed from the 
contemplation of incorporeal things produce the same effects 
as those which arise from the contemplation of corporeal 
things ; for, as we shall presently say, these have yet other 

10 effects according to the nature of the thing through the 
apprehension of which Love, Hatred, and Sorrow, &c., are 
awakened in the soul which contemplates the incorporeal 
things.) So that, to return to our previous subject, if some 
thing else should appear to the soul to be more glorious than 
the body really is, it is certain that the body would then have 
no power to produce such effects as it certainly does now. 
Whence it follows,! not alone that the body is not the principal 
cause of the passions, but also that even if there were in us 
something else besides what we have just stated to be capable, 

20 in our opinion, of producing the passions, such a thing, even 
if there were such, could likewise affect the soul neither 
more nor differently than the body does in fact now. For 
it could never be anything else than such an object as would 

tion, they tend to be] most disagreeable. And hence arises every 
kind of feeling of which we become aware, and which, when it acts 
on our body, as it often does, through material objects, we call 
impulses ; for instance, a man who is sorrowing can be made to 
laugh, or be made merry, by being tickled, or by drinking wine, &c., 
which [impulses] the soul becomes indeed aware of, but does not 
30 produce. For, when it operates, the merriments are real and of 
another kind ; because then it is no body that operates, but the 
intelligent soul uses the body as a tool, and, consequently, as the 
soul is more active in this case, so is the feeling more perfect. 

t A continues thus : not that the body alone is the principal 
cause of the passions . . . ; B : that the body alone is not the 
principal cause of the passions . . . 


once for all be different from the soul, and would conse 
quently show itself to be such and no other, as we have like 
wise stated also of the body. So that we may, with truth, 
conclude that Love, Hatred, Sorrow, and other passions are 
produced in the soul in various forms according to the kind 
of knowledge which, from time to time, it happens to have 
of the thing ; and consequently, if once it can come to 
know the most glorious of all, it should be impossible for 
any of these passions to succeed in causing it the least 



Now, as regards what we have said in the preceding 
chapter, the following difficulties might be raised by way of 
objection. I 

First, if motion is not the cause of the passions then why 
is it possible, nevertheless, to banish sorrow by the aid of 
certain II means, as is often done by means of wine ? To 
this it serves [as an answer] that a distinction must be 

10 made between the soul s awareness, when it first be 
comes aware of the body, and the judgment which it 
presently comes to form as to whether it is good or bad 
for it.t 

Now the soul, being such as just lit stated, has, as we 
have already shown before, the power to move the [vital] 
spirits whithersoever it pleases ; but this power may, never 
theless, be taken away from it, as when, owing to other 
causes [arising out] of the body generally, their form, con 
stituted by certain proportions [of motion and rest], dis- 

20 appears or is changed ; and when it becomes aware of this 
[change] in it, there arises sorrow, which varies with the 

I B inserts here a preliminary statement of the three objections 
which follow, and then repeats them each in its place, as in the 

H A has geene [no] but this was crossed out by Monnikhoff and 
replaced by eenige [some, or certain]. 

f That is, between understanding considered generally, and 
understanding having special regard to the good or evil of the 

3 o III A : nu mediate, possibly a slip for immediate, that is, " im 
mediately [above]." B : nu onmiddelijk [immediately]. 



change which the [vital] spirits undergo. This sorrow i 
results from its love for, and union with, the body.t 

That this is so may be easily deduced from the fact that 
this sorrow can be alleviated in one of these two ways ; 
either by restoring the [vital] spirits to their original form 
that is by relieving him of the pain, or by being persuaded 
by good reasons to make no ado about this body. The 
first is temporary, and [the sorrow] is liable to return ; but 
the second is eternal, permanent, and unchangeable. 

The second objection may be this : as we see that the 10 
soul, although it has nothing in common with the body, 
can yet bring it about that the [vital] spirits, although they 
were about to move in one direction, nevertheless move 
now in the other direction, why should it not also be able 
to effect that a body which is perfectly still and at rest 
should begin to move itself ? ft likewise, why should it not 
also be able to move in whatever direction it pleases all 
other bodies which are already in motion ? 

f Man s sorrow is caused by the thought that some evil is 
befalling him, namely, through the loss of some good ; when such 20 
a thought is entertained, the result is, that the [vital] spirits gather 
about the heart, and, with the help of other parts, press it together 
and enclose it, just the reverse of what happens in the case of joy. 
Then the soul becomes aware of this pressure, and is pained. Now 
what is it that medicines or wine effect ? This, namely, that by their 
action they drive away the [vital] spirits from the heart, and make 
room again, and when the soul becomes aware of this, it receives 
new animation, which consists in this, that the thought of evil is 
diverted by the change in the proportion of motion and rest, which 
the wine has caused, and it turns to something else in which the 30 
understanding finds more satisfaction. But this cannot be the 
immediate effect of the wine on the soul, but only of the wine on 
the [vital] spirits. 

tf Now, there is no difficulty here as to how the one mode, which 
is infinitely different from the other, yet acts on the other : for it is 
a part of the whole, since the soul never existed without the body, 


1 But if we recall what we have already said before con 
cerning the thinking thing, it can remove this difficulty for 
us quite easily. Namely, we then said that although Nature 
has various attributes, it is, all the same, but one only 
Being, of which all these attributes are predicated. Be 
sides this we have also said that the thinking thing, too, 
was but one only thing in Nature, and is expressed in 
infinite Ideas, in accordance with the infinite things which 
exist in Nature ; for if the body receives such a mode as, 

J o nor the body without the soul.J We arrive at this [conclusion] as 
follows : 

i. There is a perfect being, page 4t 2. There cannot be two 
substances, page . 3. No substance can have a beginning, 
page . 4. Each is infinite in its kind, page . 5. There must 
also be an attribute of thought, page . 6. There is no thing in 
Nature, but there is an Idea of it in the thinking thing, resulting from 
its essence and existence in conjunction, page . 7. Conse 
quently, now : 8. Since their essence, without their existence, is 
implied in the designations of things, therefore the Idea of the 

20 essence cannot be regarded as something separate; this can only 
be done when there is both existence and essence, because then there 
is an object, which before was not. For example, when the whole 
wall is white, there is no this or that in, &c. 9. Now, this Idea, 
considered by itselt, and apart from all other Ideas, can be no more 
than a mere Idea of such a thing, and it cannot be that it has an 
Idea of such a thing ; [add] moreover, that such an Idea, thus 
regarded, since it is only a part, can have no very clear and very 
distinct conception of itselt and its object, but only the thinking 
thing, which is the whole of Nature, can have this ; for, a part con- 

30 sidered without its whole, cannot, &c. 10. Between the Idea and 
the object there must necessarily be a union, because the one can 
not exist without the other : for there is no thing whose Idea is not 
in the thinking thing, and no Idea can exist unless the thing also 
exists. Furthermore the object cannot change without the Idea 

J B omits the rest of this note, but adds here the next note : * For ; * it 
is clear . . . 

JJ The number of the page (in notes 1-6) is not given in the MSS. 
See Commentary. 


for example, the body of Peter, and again another such as i 
is the body of Paul, the result of this is that there are in the 
thinking thing two different Ideas : namely, one idea of the 
body of Peter, which constitutes the Soul of Peter, and 
another of [the body of] Paul, which constitutes the Soul 
of Paul. Now the thinking thing can well move the body 
of Peter by means of the Idea of the body of Peter, but 
not by means of the Idea of the body of Paul ; so that the 
soul of Paul can well move its own body, but by no means 
that of another, such as that of Peter. f And for this reason I0 

changing also, and vice versa, so that there is here no need for a 
third thing that should bring about the union of soul and body. It 
is to be remarked, however, that we are speaking here of such Ideas 
which necessarily arise from the existence of the things together 
with their essence in God ; but not of the Ideas which the things 
now actually present to us, [or] produce in us. There is a great 
difference between these : for the Ideas in God do not arise as they 
do in us by way of one or more of the senses, which are therefore 
almost always only imperfectly affected by them ; but from their 
existence and their essence, just as they are. My idea, however, is 20 
not yours, although one and the same thing produces them in us. 

t It is clear that in man, because he had a beginning, there is to 
be found no other attribute than such as existed in Nature already 
before. And since he consists of such a body of which there must 
necessarily be an Idea in the thinking thing, and the Idea must 
necessarily be united with the body, therefore we assert without fear 
that his Soul is nothing else than this Idea of his body in the think 
ing thing. And as this body has a J motion and rest (which has its 
proportion determined, and JJ is usually altered, through external 30 
objects), and as no alteration can take place in the object without 
occurring also immediately in the Idea, the result is that people feel 
(idea reflexiva).Hl Now I say, as it has *a certain measure or* 
proportion of motion and rest, because no process can take place in 
the body without these two concurring. 

B : has a certain measure of ... 
I B omits these five words. 
H B: that people have " reflexive " ideas. 


j also it cannot move a stone which rests or lies still : 
because the stone, again, makes another Idea in the 
Soul. Hence also it is no less clear that it is impossible 
that a stone, which is perfectly at rest and still, should be 
made to move by any mode of thought, for the same 
reasons as above. 

The third objection may be this : We seem to be able to 
see clearly that we can, nevertheless, produce a certain 
stillness in the body. For, after we have kept moving our 
[vital] spirits for a long time, we find that we are tired ; 
which, assuredly, is nothing else than a certain stillness in 
the [vital] spirits brought about by ourselves. We answer, 
however, that it is quite true that the soul is a cause of this 
stillness, but only indirectly ; for it puts a stop to the 
movement not directly, but only through other bodies 
which it has moved, and which must then necessarily have 
lost as much as they had imparted to the [vital] spirits.! 
It is therefore clear on all sides that in Nature there is 
*only * one and the same kind of motion. 

t B : The Answer is that, although it may be true that the 
Soul is a cause of this rest, still it does not bring it about imme 
diately, but only through other bodies, which necessarily impart to 
the moving [vital] spirits just as much rest as they receive motion 
from them. 



AT present we have to inquire why it happens that some 
times, although we see that a certain thing is good or bad, 
we nevertheless do not find in us the power either to do the 
good or to abstain from the bad, and sometimes, however, 
we do indeed [find this power in us]. This we can easily 
understand if we consider the causes that we assigned to 
opinions, which we stated to be the causes of all affects. 
These, we then said, [arise] either from hearsay, or from 10 
experience. And since all that we find in ourselves has 
greater power over us than that which comes to us from 
outside, it certainly follows that Reason can be the cause 
of the extinction of opinions f which we have got from hear 
say only (and this is so because reason has not *like these* 

f It is all the same whether we use here the word opinion or 
passion ; and so it is clear why we cannot conquer by means of 
Reason those that have come to us through experience ; for these 
are nothing else than an enjoyment of, or immediate union with, 
something that we judge to be good, and Reason, though it teaches 20 
us what is better, does not make us enjoy it. Now that which we 
enjoy in us cannot be conquered by that which we do not enjoy, 
and is outside us, as that is which Reason suggests. But if these 
are to be overcome then there must be something that is more 
powerful ; in this way there will be an enjoyment or immediate 
union with something that is better known and enjoyed than this 
first; and when this exists victory is always assured; or, indeed, 
*this victory comes* also through tasting an evil which is recognised 
to be greater than the good that was enjoyed, and upon which it 
follows immediately. Still, experience teaches us that this evil does 30 
not necessarily always follow thus, for, &c. See pages 78, 118. 


i come to us from outside), but by no means of those 
which we have got from experience. For the power which 
the thing itself gives us is always greater than that which 
we obtain by way of consequence through a second thing ; 
we noted this difference when speaking of reasoning and of 
clear understanding, page 67, and we did so with the rule 
of three as an illustration. For more power comes to us 
from the understanding of proportion t itself, than from 
the understanding of the rule of proportion. And it is for 

10 this reason that we have said so often that one love may be 
extinguished by another which is greater, because in saying 
this we did not, by any means, intend to refer to desire 
which *does not, like love, come from true knowledge, but* 
comes from reasoning. 

I A and B : the rule. 


SINCE, then, Reason has no power to lead us to the attain 
ment of our well-being, it remains for us to inquire whether 
we can attain it through the fourth, and last, kind of know 
ledge. Now we have said that this kind of knowledge does 
not result from something else, but from a direct revelation 
of the object itself to the understanding. And if that 
object is glorious and good, then the soul becomes 
necessarily united with it, as we have also remarked with 10 
reference to our body. Hence it follows incontrovertibly 
that it is this knowledge which evokes love. So that when 
we get to know God after this manner then (as he cannot 
reveal himself, nor become known to us otherwise than as 
the most glorious and best of all) we must necessarily 
become united with him. And only in this * union,* as we 
have already remarked, does our blessedness consist. 

I do not say that we must know him just as he is, *or 
adequately,* for it is sufficient for us to know him to some 
extent, in order to be united with him. For even the 20 
knowledge that we have of the body is not such that we 
know it just as it is, or perfectly ; and yet, what a union ! 
what a love ! 

That this fourth [kind of] knowledge, which is the 
knowledge of God, is not the consequence of something 
else, but immediate, is evident from what we have proved 
before, [namely,] that he is the cause of all knowledge that 
is acquired through itself alone, and through no other 
thing ; moreover, also from this, that we are so united with 
him by nature that without him we can neither be, nor be 30 


i known. And for this reason, since there is such a close 
union between God and us, it is evident that we cannot 
know him except directly. 

We shall endeavour to explain, next, this union of ours 
with him through nature and love. 

We said before that in Nature there can be nothing of 
which there should not be an Idea in the soul of that same 
thing.f And according as the thing is either more or less 
perfect, so also is the union and the influence of the Idea 
10 with the thing, or with God himself, less or more perfect. 
For as the whole of Nature is but one only substance, and 
one whose essence is infinite, all things are united through 
Nature, and they are united into one [being], namely, God. 
And now, as the body is the very first thing of which our 
soul becomes aware (because as already remarked, no thing 
can exist in Nature, the Idea of which is not in the thinking 
thing, this Idea being the soul of that thing) so that thing 
must necessarily be the first cause of the 

But, as this Idea can by no means find rest in the know- 
20 ledge of the body without passing on to the knowledge of 
that without which the body and Idea could neither be, nor 
be understood, so (after knowing it first) it becomes united 
with it immediately through love. This union is better 
understood, and one may gather what it must be like, from 
its action with the body, in which we see how through 

f This also explains what we said in the first part, namely, that 
the infinite understanding must exist in Nature from all eternity, 
and why we called it the son of God. For, as God existed from 
eternity, his Idea must also be in the thinking thing, that is, in him- 
30 self *from eternity* , objective this Idea coincides with himself; see 
page 57. 

ft That is J our soul being an Idea of the body derives its first 
being from the body, but JJ it is only a representation of the body, 
both as a whole and in its parts, in the thinking thing. 

J B inserts "in" after "is." }{ A: for; B: but. 


knowledge of, and feelings towards corporeal things, there i 
arise in us all the effects which we are constantly becoming 
aware of in the body, through the movements of the [vital] 
spirits ; and therefore (if once our knowledge and love 
come to embrace that without which we can neither be, 
nor be understood, and which is in no way corporeal) how 
incomparably greater and more glorious will and must be 
the kind of effects resulting from this union ; for these 
must necessarily be commensurate with the thing with 
which it is united. And when we become aware of these 10 
*excellent* effects, then we may say with truth, that we have 
been born again. For our first birth took place when we 
were united with the body, through which the activities and 
movements of the [vital] spirits have arisen ; but this our 
other or second birth will take place when we become 
aware in us of entirely different effects of love, commensu 
rate with the knowledge of this incorporeal object, and as 
different from the first as the corporeal is different from 
the incorporeal, spirit from flesh. And this may, therefore, 
all the more justly and truly be called Regeneration, inas- 20 
much as only from this love and union does Eternal and 
unchangeable existence ensue, as we shall prove. 



IF only we consider attentively what the Soul is, and whence 
its change and duration originate, then we shall easily see 
whether it is mortal or immortal. 

Now we have said that the Soul is an Idea which is in 
the thinking thing, arising from the reality of a thing which 
exists in Nature. Whence it follows that according to the 
duration and change of the thing, so must also be the 

10 duration and change of the Soul. We remarked, at the 
same time, that the Soul can become united either with the 
body of which it is the Idea, or with God, without whom it 
can neither be, nor be known. 

From this, then, it can easily be seen, (i) that, if it is 
united with the body alone, and that body happens to 
perish, then it must perish also ; for when it is deprived of 
the body, which is the foundation of its love, it must perish 
with it. But (2) if it becomes united with some other 
thing which is and remains unchangeable, then, on the 

20 contrary, it must also remain unchangeable *and lasting.* 
For, in that case, through what shall it be possible for it 
to perish ? J Not through itself ; for as little as it could 
begin to exist through itself when it did not yet exist, so 

I B concludes this chapter as follows : For that which alone is 
the cause of the existence of a thing, must also, when it is about to 
pass away, be the cause of its non-existence, simply because itself 
is changing or passing away ; or that whereof it is the cause must 
be able to annihilate itself; but as little as a thing can begin to 
exist through itself when it does not yet exist, so little also can it 
30 change or perish through itself, now that it does exist. 



little also can it change or perish * through itself,* now that 
it does exist. 

Consequently, that thing which alone is the cause of its 
existence, must also (when it is about to perish) be the 
cause of its non-existence, because it happens to change 
itself or to perish. 



THUS far we have shown sufficiently, we think, what our 
love of God is, also its consequences, namely, our eternal 
duration. So we do not think it necessary here to say any 
thing about other things, such as joy in God, peace of 
mind, &c., as from what has been said it may easily be 
seen what there is to or should be said about them. 
Thus (as we have, so far, only considered our love of God) 
10 it still remains to be seen whether there is also a divine 
love of us, that is, whether God also loves mankind, 
namely, when they love him. Now, in the first place, we 
have said that to God no modes of thought can be ascribed 
except those which are in his creatures; therefore, it cannot 
be said that God loves mankind, much less [can it be 
said] that he should love them because they love him, or 
hate them because they hate him. For in that case we 
should have to suppose that people do so of their own free 
will, and that they do not depend on a first cause ; which 
20 we have already before proved to be false. Besides, this 
would necessarily involve nothing less than a great muta 
bility on the part of God, who, though he neither loved nor 
hated before, would now have to begin to love and to 
hate, and would be * induced or * made to do so by some 
thing supposed to be outside him ; but this is absurdity 

Still, when we say that God does not love man, this 
must not be taken to mean that he (so to say) leaves 
man to pursue his course all alone, but only that be- 
so cause man together with all that is, are in God in such 



a way,:f and God consists of all these in such a way, therefore, i 
properly speaking, there can be in him no love for something 
else : since all form only one thing, which is God himself. 

From this it follows also that God gives no laws to man 
kind so as to reward them when they fulfil them *[and to 
punish them when they transgress them,]* or, to state it 
more clearly, that God s laws are not of such a nature that 
they could be transgressed. For the regulations imposed 
by God on Nature, according to which all things come into 
existence and continue to exist, these, if we will call them 10 
laws, are such that they can never be transgressed ; such, 
for instance, is [the law] that the weakest must yield to the 
strongest, It that no cause can produce more than it contains 
in itself, and the like, which are of such a kind that they 
never change, and never had a beginning, but all things are 
subjected and subordinated to them. And, to say briefly 
something about them : all laws that cannot be transgressed, 
are divine laws ; the reason [is this], because whatsoever 
happens, is not contrary to, but in accordance with, his own 
decision. All laws that can be transgressed are human laws ; 20 
the reason [is this], because all that people decide upon for 
their own well-being does not necessarily, on that account, 
tend also to the well-being of the whole of Nature, but may, on 
the contrary, tend to the annihilation of many other things. 

When the laws of Nature are stronger, the laws of men 
are made null ; the divine laws are the final end for the 
sake of which they exist, and not subordinate ; human 
[laws] are not.Jtt Still, HII notwithstanding the fact that 

t B continues as follows : that God thus consists of them only, 
therefore, it must be so conceived that, properly speaking ... 30 

tt B : the weaker must yield to the stronger. 

ttt B : The Divine Laws are the final end for which they exist, 
and are not subordinate : but not so the Human Laws \ for when 
the Laws of Nature are stronger than these they are annihilated. 

tttt A : For ; B : Still. 


i men make laws for their own well-being, and have no other 
end in view except to promote their own well-being by 
them, this end of theirs may yet (in so far as it is subordinate 
to other ends which another has in view, who is above 
them, and lets them act thus as parts of Nature) serve that 
end [which] coincides with the eternal I laws established 
by God from eternity, and so, together with all others, help 
to accomplish everything. For example, although the 
Bees, in all their work and the orderly discipline which they 

10 maintain among themselves, have no other end in view than 
to make certain provisions * for themselves * for the winter, 
still, man who is above them, has an entirely different end 
in view when he maintains and tends them, namely, to 
obtain honey for himself. So also [is it with] man, in so 
far as he is an individual thing and looks no further than 
his finite character can reach ; but, in so far as he is also 
a part and tool of the whole of Nature, this end of man 
cannot be the final end of Nature, because she is infinite, 
and must make use of him, together also with all other 

20 things, as an instrument. 

Thus far [we have been speaking] of the law imposed by 
God ; it is now to be remarked also that man is aware of 
two kinds of law even in himself ; tl I mean such a man 
who uses his understanding aright, and attains to the know 
ledge of God ; and these [two kinds of law] result from his 
fellowship with God, and from his fellowship with the 
modes of Nature. Of these the one is necessary, and the 
other is not. For, as regards the law which results from 
his fellowship with God, since he can never be otherwise 

30 but must always necessarily be united with him, therefore 

t B : beginningless. 

^J B continues: i. In him who uses his understanding aright 
and attains to the knowledge of God ; these result from his fellow 
ship with God. 2. Those which result from his fellowship with the 
modes of Nature. 


he has, and always must have before his eyes the laws by i 
which he must live for and with God. But as regards the 
law which results from his fellowship with the modes, since 
he can separate himself from men, this is not so necessary. 

Now, since we posit such a fellowship between God and 
men, it might justly be asked, how God can make himself 
known to men, and whether this happens, or could have 
happened, by means of spoken words, or directly *through 
himself,* without using any other thing to do it with. 

We answer,! not by means of words, in any case ; for 10 
in that case man must have known the signification of the 
words before they were spoken to him. For example, if 
God had said to the Israelites, / am Jehovah your God, then 
they would have had to know first, apart from these 
words, that God existed, It before they could be assured 
* thereby * that it was he * [who was speaking to 
them].* For they already knew quite well then that the 
voice, thunder and lightning were not God, although the 
voice proclaimed that it was God. And the same that we 
say here about words, we also mean to hold good of all 20 
external signs. 

We consider it, therefore, impossible that God should 
make himself known to men by means of external 

And we consider it to be unnecessary that it should 
happen through any other thing than the mere essence of 

t B : To this we answer that such [a thing] can never happen 
by means of words ; for, in that case, man would have had to know 
the signification of the words before the outward communication 
was made to him through them. When, for example, God said to 30 
the Israelites, . . . 

tt A : dat hy God was [that he was God] ; B : dat God was 
[that God existed]. 

ttt B continues : this self-revelation must therefore take place 
solely through the essence of God and the understanding of man ; 
for ... 



i God and the understanding of man ; for, as the Under 
standing is that in us which must know God, and as it stands 
in such immediate union with him that it can neither be, nor 
be understood without him, it is incontrovertibly evident 
from this that no thing can ever come into such close touch 
with the Understanding as God himself can. It is also impos 
sible to get to know God through something else. i. Be 
cause, in that case, such a thing would have to be better 
known to us than God himself, which is in open conflict 

10 with all that we have hitherto clearly shown, namely, that 
God is a cause both of our knowledge and of all essence, 
and that without him all individual things not only cannot 
exist, but cannot even be understood. 2. Because we can 
never attain to the knowledge of God through any other 
thing, the nature of which is necessarily finite, even if it 
were far better known to us ; for how is it possible that we 
should infer an infinite and limitless thing from a * finite 
and * limited thing ? For even if we did observe some 
effects or work in Nature the cause of which was unknown 

20 to us, still it would be impossible for us to conclude from 
this that there must be in Nature an infinite and limitless 
thing in order to produce this result. For how can we 
know whether many causes have concurred in order to 
produce this, or whether there was only one ? Who is to 
tell us ? 

We therefore conclude, finally, that, in order to make 
himself known to men, God can and need use neither 
words, nor miracles, nor any other created thing, but only 



WE shall now briefly say something about devils, whether 
they exist or do not exist, and it is this : 

If the Devil is a thing that is once for all opposed to God, 
and has absolutely nothing from God, then he is precisely iden 
tical with Nothing, which we have already discussed before. 

If, with some, we represent him as a thinking thing that 
absolutely neither wills nor does any good, and so sets him 
self, once for all, in opposition to God, then surely he is 10 
very wretched, and, if prayers could help, then one ought 
to pray for his conversion. 

But let us just see whether such a wretched thing could 
even exist for a single moment. And, if we do so, we shall 
immediately find out that it cannot ; for whatever duration 
a thing has results entirely from the perfection of the thing, 
and the more essence and godliness things possess, the 
more lasting are they : therefore, as the Devil has not the 
least perfection in him, how should he then, I think to 
myself, be able to exist ? Add to this, that the persistence 20 
or duration of a mode of the thinking thing only results from 
the union in which such a mode is, through love, joined to 
God. As the precise opposite of this union is supposed in 
the case of the Devils, they cannot possibly exist.! 

As, however, there is no necessity whatever why we 
should posit the existence of Devils, why then should they 
be posited ? For we need not, like others, posit Devils in 
order to find [in them] the cause of Hatred, Envy, Wrath, 
and such-like passions, since we have found this sufficiently, 
without such fictions. 30 

t A : not exist. 



BY the assertion of what precedes we not only wanted to 
make known that there are no Devils, but also, indeed, that 
the causes (or, to express it better, what we call Sins) which 
hinder us in the attainment of our perfection are in our 
selves. We have also shown already, in what precedes, 
how and in what manner, through reason as also tt through 
the fourth kind of knowledge, we must attain to our blessed- 

10 ness, and how the passions * which are bad and should be 
banished * must be done away with : not as is commonly 
urged, namely, that these [passions] must first be subdued 
before we can attain to the knowledge, and consequently to 
the love, of God. That would be just like insisting that some 
one who is ignorant must first forsake his ignorance before 
he can attain to knowledge. ttt But [the truth is] this, 
that only knowledge can cause the disappearance thereof 
as is evident from all that we have said. Similarly, it may 
also be clearly gathered from the above that without Virtue, 

20 or (to express it better) without the guidance of the Under 
standing, all tends to ruin, so that we can enjoy no rest, 
and we live, as it were, outside our element. So that even 
if from the power of knowledge and divine love there 
accrued to the understanding not an eternal rest, such as 
we have shown, but only a temporary one, it is our duty to 

t B : of the preceding chapter. 
JJ B omits these four words. 

ttJ B continues thus : but just as knowledge alone can cause the 
annihilation of this (as is evident from all that we have said) so it 
30 may likewise be clearly gathered from the above . . . 



seek even this, since this also is such that if once we taste i 
it we would exchange it for nothing else in the world. 

This being so, we may, with reason, regard as a great 
absurdity what many, who are otherwise esteemed as great 
theologians, assert, namely, that if no eternal life resulted 
from the love of God, then t they would seek what is best 
for themselves : as though they could discover anything 
better than God ! This is just as silly as if a fish (for 
which, of course, it is impossible to live out of the water) 
were to say : if no eternal life is to follow this life in the 10 
water, then I will leave the water for the land ; It what else, 
indeed, can they say to us who do not know God ? 

Thus we see, therefore, that in order to arrive at the 
truth of what we assert for sure concerning our happiness 
and repose, we require no other principles except only this, 
namely, to take to heart our own interest, which is very 
natural in all things. ttt And since we find that, when we 
pursue sensuousness, pleasures, and worldly things, we do 
not find our happiness in them, but, on the contrary, our 
ruin, we therefore choose the guidance of our understanding. 20 
As, however, this can make no progress, unless it has first 
attained to the knowledge and love of God, therefore it was 
highly necessary to seek this (God) ; and as (after the fore 
going reflections and considerations) we have discovered 
that he is the best good of all that is good, we are compelled 
to stop and to rest here. For we have seen that, outside 
him, there is nothing that can give us any happiness. And 
it is a true freedom to be, and to remain, bound with the 
loving chains of his love. 

Lastly, we see also that reasoning is not the principal 3 
thing in us, but only like a staircase by which we can climb 

B continues thus : people would seek and consider pleasures 
of sense, merriment, and worldly enjoyments : as though . . . 

It B continues: so it is also with the foregoing ; for, what else, . . . 
B omits this sentence. 


i up to the desired place, or like a good genius which, with 
out any falsity or deception, brings us tidings of the 
highest good in order thereby to stimulate us to pursue it, 
and to become united with it ; which union is our supreme 
happiness and bliss. 

So, to bring this work to a conclusion, it remains to 

indicate briefly what human freedom is, and wherein it 

consists. For this purpose I shall make use of these 

following propositions, as things which are certain and 

10 demonstrated. 

i. The more essence a thing has, so much more has it 
also of activity, and so much less of passivity. For it 
is certain that what is active acts through what it has, 
and that the thing which is passive is affected through what 
it has not. 

2. All passivity that passes from non-being to being, or 
from being to non-being, must result from some external 
agent, and not from an inner one : because no thing, con 
sidered by itself, contains in itself the conditions that will 

20 enable it to annihilate itself when it exists, or to create 
itself when it does not exist. 

3. Whatever is not produced by external causes can have 
nothing in common with them, and can, consequently, be 
neither changed nor transformed by them. 

And from these last two [propositions] I infer the follow 
ing fourth proposition : 

4. The effect of an immanent or inner cause (which is all 
one to me) cannot possibly pass away or change so long as 
this cause of it remains. For such an effect, just as it 

30 is not produced by external causes, so also it cannot be 
changed [by them] ; following the third proposition. And 
since no thing whatever can come to naught except through 
external causes, it is not possible that this effect should be 
liable to perish so long as its cause endures ; following the 
second proposition. 


5. The freest cause of all, and that which is most appro- i 
priate to God, is the immanent : for the effect of this cause 
depends on it in such a way that it can neither be, nor be 
understood without it, nor is it subjected to any other cause ; 
it is, moreover, united with it in such a way that together 
they form one whole. 

Now let us just see what we must conclude from the 
above propositions. In the first place, then, 

1. Since the essence of God is infinite, therefore it has 
an infinite activity, and an infinite negation of passivity, 10 
following the first proposition ; and, in consequence of this, 
the more that, through their greater essence, things are 
united with God, so much the more also do they have of 
activity, and the less of passivity : and so much the more 
also *are they* free from change and corruption. 

2. The true Understanding can never perish ; for in itself 
it can have no cause to destroy itself, following the second 
proposition. And as it did not emanate from external 
causes, but from God, so it is not susceptible to any change 
through them, following the third proposition. And since 20 
God has produced it immediately and he is only t an inner 
cause, it follows necessarily that it cannot perish so long 

as this cause of it remains, following the fourth proposition. 
Now this cause of it is eternal, therefore it is too. 

3. All the effects of the *true* understanding, which are 
united with it, are the most excellent, and must be valued 
above all the others ; for as they are inner effects, they must 
be the most excellent ; following the fifth proposition ; and, 
besides this, they are also necessarily eternal, because their 
cause is such. 30 

4. All the effects which we produce outside ourselves are 
the more perfect, the more they are capable of becoming 
united with us, so as to constitute one and the same nature 
with us ; for in this way they come nearest to inner 

J A : is not only. 


i effects. For example, if I teach my neighbours to love 
pleasure, glory, avarice, then whether I myself also love 
these or do not love them, whatever the case may be, I 
deserve to be punished, this is clear. Not so, however, when 
the only end that I endeavour to attain is, to be able to taste 
of union with God, and to bring forth true ideas, and to make 
these things known also to my neighbours ; for we can all 
participate equally in this happiness, as happens when it 
creates in them J the same desire that I have, thus causing 
10 their Jt will and mine to be one and the same, constituting 
one and the same nature, agreeing always in all things.Jtt 

From all that has been said it may now be very easily 
conceived what is human freedom,! which I define to be 
this : it is, namely, a firm reality which our understanding 

t A: him. tt A: his. 

HI Instead of the three preceding paragraphs, B has the 
following : 

2. As (according to Proposition II.) no thing can be a cause of 
its own annihilation, nor, if it is not the effect of any external cause, 

20 can it (according to Proposition III.) be changed by such, but 
(according to Proposition IV.) the effect of an inner cause can 
neither pass away, nor change so long as this cause thereof endures ; 
it follows that the true understanding, since it is produced by no 
external cause, but immediately by God, is, through this cause, 
eternal and immutable, can neither perish nor change, but, with it, 
necessarily remains eternal and lasting. 

3. Since the inner effects of an immanent cause (according to 
Proposition V.) are the most excellent of all, all the effects of the 
true understanding which are united therewith, must also be valued 

3 above all others, and [must] necessarily be eternal with their cause. 
Whence it follows that 

4. The more perfect the effects are which we produce outside us, 
the more capable are they of becoming united with us so as to 
constitute one and the same nature with us. It is thus when, 

f The servitude of a thing consists in being subjected to 
external causes, freedom, on the contrary, in not being subjected 
to them, but freed from them. 


acquires through direct union with God, so that it can bring i 
forth ideas in itself, and effects outside itself, in complete 
harmony with its nature ; without, however, its effects being 
subjected to any external causes, so as to be capable of 
being changed or transformed by them. Thus it is, at 
the same time, evident from what has been said, what 
things there are that are in our power, and are not sub 
jected to any external causes ; we have likewise also proved 
here, and that in a different way from before, the eternal 
and lasting duration of our understanding ; and, lastly, 10 
which effects it is that we have to value above all others. 

So,! to make an end of all this, it only remains for me 
still to say to my friends to whom I write this :tt Be not 
astonished at these novelties ; for it is very well known to 
you that a thing does not therefore cease to be true because 
it is not accepted by many. And also, as the character of 
the age in which we live is not unknown to you, I would 
beg of you most earnestly to be very careful about the com 
munication of these things to others. I do not want to say 
that you should absolutely keep them to yourselves, but only 20 
that if ever you tU begin to communicate them to anybody, 

through my union with God, I conceive true ideas, and make them 
known to my neighbours, so that they may likewise participate with 
me in this happiness, and so that there arises in them a desire like 
mine, making their will one and the same with mine, so that we 
thus constitute one and the same nature, agreeing in all things. 

I In the margin of this paragraph A has the following note : 
the author s entreaty to those for whom, at their request, he had 
dictated this treatise, and therewith the conclusion of all. 

It B continues : that they should not be astonished at the 30 
novelties (which they might find here) ; since a thing does not 
therefore cease to be true when it is not accepted by many. 

ttt B continues : wish to communicate them to others, then 
you shall have no other object in view except only the Happiness 
of your neighbour ; being at the same time clearly assured that the 
reward of your labour will not disappoint you therein. 


1 then let no other aim prompt you except only the happiness 
of your neighbour, being at the same time clearly assured 
by him that the reward will not disappoint your labour. 
Lastly, if, on reading this through, you should meet with 
some difficulty about what I state as certain, I beseech you 
that you should not therefore hasten at once to refute it, 
before you have pondered it long enough and thoughtfully 
enough, and if you do this I feel sure that you will attain to 
the}: enjoyment of the fruits of this tree which you promise 
10 yourselves. 

J B concludes : desired END. 






1. Substance is, by its nature, prior to ail its modifications. 

2. Things which are different are distinguished either 
realiter or modaliter. 

3. Things which are distinguished realiter either have 
different attributes, such as Thought and Extension, or are 
referred to different attributes, as in the case of Under 
standing and Motion ; one of which belongs to Thought, 10 
and the other to Extension. 

4. Things which have different attributes, as also the 
things which belong to different attributes, do not have 
anything the one of the other. 

5. That which has not in itself something of another thing, 
can also not be a cause of the existence of such another thing. 

6. It is impossible that that which is a cause of itself 
should have limited itself. 

7. That by which the things are sustained is by its nature 
prior to t such things. 20 


To no substance that exists can one and the same attri 
bute be ascribed that is ascribed to another substance ; or 
(which is the same) in Nature there cannot be two sub 
stances, unless they are distinguished 

I A : the first (prior) in ; B : prior to. 

Jt B : ... in Nature there cannot be posited two substances 
of one and the same nature. 




If there are two substances, then they are distinct ; and 
consequently (Axiom 2) they are distinguished either 
realiter or modaliter ; not modaliter, for in that case the 
modes would by their nature be prior to the substance, 
which is contrary to the first axiom ; therefore, realiter ; and 
consequently, what is predicated of the one cannot be 
predicated of the other, which is what we intended to 


One substance cannot be the cause of the existence of 
another substance. 


Such a cause ;annot contain in itself anything of such 
an effect (Prop, i) ; because the difference between them is 
real, and therefore it cannot (Axiom 5) produce it.JJ 


Every attribute or substance ttt is by nature infinite, and 
supremely perfect in its kind. 


No substance is produced by another (Prop. 2) and conse 
quently, if it exists, it is either an attribute of God, or it has 
been its own cause outside God. If the first, then it is 
necessarily infinite, and supremely perfect in its kind, such 

t A gives the references to Axioms and Propositions in the 
margin ; B, in the text. 

JJ A adds : (existence) ; B : . . . and therefore the one cannot 
produce the other. 

HI A : all attributes or substance ; B : all substance or its attri- 
3 o butes. 


as are all other attributes of God. If the second, then it is 
also necessarily such because (Axiom 6) it could not have 
limited itself. 


To such an extent does existence pertain by nature to 
the essence of every substance,! that it is impossible to 
posit in an infinite understanding the Idea of the essence of 
a substance that does not exist in Nature. 


The true essence of an object Jt is something which is 10 
realiter different from the Idea of the same object ; and this 
something exists (Axiom 3) either realiter, or is contained in 
some other thing which exists realiter ; from which other 
thing this essence cannot be distinguished realiter, but 
only modaliter ; such are all the essences of the things ttt 
which we see, which before they yet existed were already 
contained in extension, motion, and rest, and when they do 
exist are not distinguished from extension realiter } but only 
modaliter. Moreover, it would involve self-contradiction to 
suppose that the essence of a substance tttt is contained thus 20 
in some other thing ; because in that case it could not be 
distinguished from this realiter, contrary to the first proposi 
tion ; also, it could in that case be produced by the subject 
which contains it, contrary to the second proposition ; and 
lastly, it could not by its nature be infinite and supremely 
perfect in its kind, contrary to the third proposition. 

t A : to every essence of substance ; B : to the essence of a 

t J B : . . . of the object of an idea. 

B : essences or things. 30 

A: that an essence of the substance; B: that an essence 
of substance. 


Therefore, as its essence is not contained in any other 
thing, it must be a thing that exists through itself. 


Nature is known through itself, and not through any 
other thing. It consists of infinite attributes every one of 
them infinite and perfect in its kind ; to its essence pertains 
existence, so that outside it there is no other essence or 
existence, and it thus coincides exactly with the essence of 
God who alone is glorious and blessed. 


As man is a created finite thing, &c., it necessarily follows 
that what he has of Thought, and what we call the Soul, is 
a mode of the attribute which we call Thought, and that 
nothing else except this mode belongs to his essence : so 
much so that when this mode comes to naught, the soul 
perishes also, although the above attribute remains un 
changed. Similarly as regards Jt what he has of Extension ; 
what we call Body is nothing else than a mode of the other 10 
attribute which we call Extension ; when this is destroyed, 
the human body also ceases to be, although the attribute 
Extension remains unchanged. 

Now in order to understand what this mode is, which we 
call Soul, and how it derives its origin from the body, and 
also how its change (only) depends on the body (which to me 
constitutes the union of soul and body), it must be observed : 

I. That the most immediate mode of the attribute which 
we call thought contains objective the formal essence of all 
things ; so much so, that if one could posit a real thing 20 
whose essence was not objective in the above-named attri 
bute, then this would not be infinite, nor supremely perfect 
in its kind ; contrary to what has already been proved in 
the third proposition. And since, as a matter of fact, Nature 
or God is one being of which infinite attributes are predi 
cated, and which contains in itself all the essences of created 
things, it necessarily follows that of all this there is produced 

J A : an attribute : B : a mode. 

tl B omits " as regards," and inserts " and " after " Extension." 

157 L 


in Thought an infinite Idea, t which comprehends objective 
the whole of Nature just as it is realiter. 

2. It is to be observed that all the remaining modes, such 
as Love, Desire, Joy, *&c.,* derive their origin from this 
first immediate mode ; and that, too, in such wise, that if it 
did not precede, then there could be no love, desire, * nor 
joy,* &c. Whence it clearly follows that the natural love 
which prompts everything to preserve its body (I mean the 
mode) It cannot have any other origin than in the Idea 

10 or the " objective " essence of such body which is in the 
thinking attribute. Further, since for the real existence of 
an Idea (or " objective " essence) no other thing is required 
than the thinking attribute and the object (or " formal" 
essence), it is certain, as we have said, that the Idea, or the 
"objective" essence, is the most immediate t mode of the 
* thinking * attribute. And, consequently, there can be in 
the thinking attribute no other mode, that should belong to 
the essence of the soul of every ttt thing, except only the 
Idea, which must be in the thinking attribute when its 

20 object exists : for such an idea brings with it the remaining 
modes of Love, Desire, * joy,* &c. Now as the Idea comes 
from the existence of the object, therefore according as the 
object changes or perishes, so its Idea must change or 
perish, and such being the case, it is that which is united 
with the object. tttt 

t I call that mode the most immediate mode, which, in order to 
exist, requires no other mode in the same attribute. 

J A : it necessarily follows that of all that which is produced in 
Thought there is an infinite Idea . . . ; B : . . . that there is 
30 produced in thought an infinite idea thereof . . . 

It B omits the words in brackets. 

til A : gelijken [like] ; B : iegelijk n [every]. 

Hit B : . . . so this idea of it must change or perish in the same 
degree or measure of change or annihilation, because it is thus- 
united with the object. 


Lastly, if we should want to proceed and ascribe to the i 
essence of the soul that through which it can be real, we shall 
be able to find nothing else than the attribute [Thought] and 
the object of which we have just been speaking ; and neither 
of these can belong to the essence of the Soul, as the object 
has nothing of Thought, and is realiter different from the 
Soul. ! And with regard to the attribute, we have also 
proved already that it cannot pertain to the above-mentioned 
essence, as appears even more clearly from what we said 
subsequently; II for the attribute as attribute IK is not 10 
united with the object, since it neither changes nor perishes, 
although the object changes or perishes. 

Therefore the essence of the soul consists in this alone, 
namely, in the existence of an Idea or " objective " essence 
in the thinking attribute, arising from the essence of an 
object which in fact exists in Nature. I say, of an object 
which in fact exists, 6-c., without more particulars, so as to 
include under this not only the modes of extension, but also 
the modes of all the infinite attributes, which have also 
each its soul, just as in the case of extension. And in order 20 
that this definition may be somewhat more fully understood, 
it should be borne in mind what I have already said when 
speaking about the attributes, which, I said, are not different 
as regards their existence,tltt for they are themselves the 
" subjects " of their essences ; also that the essence of every 
one of the modes is contained in the above-named attributes, 
* and, lastly, that all the attributes are attributes * of One 
infinite Being. Wherefore also, in the ninth chapter of the 
First Part, I called this Idea a creation created immediately by 
God ; since it contains objective the " formal " essence of all 30 

! B : as the object of Thought has nothing thereof, but is 
realiter different from it. 

!! B : as will be seen trom what we shall say later. 

!!! B omits "as attribute." 

!!!! B omits the nine words that follow. 


1 things, I without omission or addition. And this is neces 
sarily but one, considering that all the essences of the 
attributes, and the essences of the modes comprehended 
in these attributes, are the essence of one only infinite 
being, II But it has still to be remarked that these modes, 
now under consideration, [even when] none of them exists, 
are nevertheless equally comprehended in their attributes ; 
and as there is no inequality whatever in the attributes, nor 
yet in the essences of the modes, there can be no particu- 

10 larity in the idea when there is none in Nature. But as 
soon as ever some of these modes take on their particular 
existence, and thereby become in some way different 
from their attributes (because then their particular 
existence, which they have in the attribute, is the "sub 
ject" of their essence), then there shows itself a particu 
larity in the essences of the modes, and consequently in 
the " objective " essences of these which are necessarily 
comprehended in the Idea, HI And this is the reason why 
we said, in the definition, that the Idea llll arises from 

20 an object, Hill which really exists in Nature. And with this 
we think we have sufficiently explained what kind of a 
thing the soul is in general, understanding by this expres 
sion not only the Ideas which arise from *the existence 
of* corporeal modes, but also those which arise from the 
existence of every mode of the remaining attributes. 

I B : . . . I called the thinking attribute, or the understand 
ing in the thinking thing, a son, product, or creation created 
immediately by God, since it contains the " objective " essence of 
all things . . . 

30 H B omits this sentence, and continues : For it has to be 
remarked . . . 

HI B : in the Thinking Attribute. 

Hll B : the soul, the idea, or objective essence in the thinking 
attribute (which is all one to me) arises . . . 

lllll B : from the essence of an object . . . 


But, since we have no such knowledge of the remaining i 
attributes as we have of extension, let us just see whether, 
having regard to the modes of extension, we can discover a 
more special definition, and one that shall be more appro 
priate to express the essence of our souls, for this is the 
real task before us. Now we shall presuppose here, as 
something already demonstrated, that extension contains no 
other modes than motion and rest, and that every particular 
material thing is nothing else than a certain proportion of 
motion and rest, so much so indeed that, even if extension 10 
contained nothing else except motion only or rest only, then 
no particular thing could be shown or exist in the whole of 
extension; the human body, therefore, is nothing else than 
a certain proportion of motion and rest. Now the " ob 
jective essence " of this actual ratio * of motion and rest * 
which is in the thinking attribute, this (we say) is the soul 
of the body ; so that whenever one of these two modes 
changes into more or less (motion or rest) I the Idea 
* or the soul * also changes accordingly. For example, when 
the [amount of] rest happens to increase, while the [quantity 20 
of] motion is diminished, then there is produced thereby 
that pain or sorrow which we call cold; but if, on the 
contrary, this [increase] takes place in the [amount of] 
motion, then there is produced thereby that pain which we 
call heat. It And so when it happens that the degrees of 
motion and rest are not equal in all the parts of our body, 
but that some have more motion and rest than others, there 

I B : whenever one 01 these two modes, be it motion or rest, 
changes into more or less . . . 

II B continues as follows : But if the proportion of motion and 30 
rest is not the same in all the parts of our body, but some of them 
are provided with more motion or rest than the others, there arises 
thence a difference of feeling : such as we experience when we are 
struck with a cane in the eyes or on the hands. Moreover, when 
the external causes happen to be different, and have not all the 


i arises therefrom a t difference of feeling (and thence arises 
the different kind of pain which we feel when we are struck 
in the eyes or on the hands with a cane), It And when it 
happens that the external causes, which bring about these 
changes, are different from one another, and have not all 
the same effect, then there results from this a difference of 
feeling in one and the same part (and from this results the 
difference of feeling according as one and the same hand is 
struck with a piece of wood or of iron), tt And, again, 

10 if the change which occurs in a part restores it to its first 
proportion *of motion and rest,* there arises from this that 
joy which we call repose, pleasurable activity, and cheerful 
ness. Lastly, now that we have explained what feeling is, 
we can easily see how this gives rise to an Idea reflexiva, or 
the knowledge of oneself, Experience and Reasoning. And 
from all this (as also because our soul is united with God, 
and is a part of the infinite Idea, arising immediately from 
God) there can also be clearly seen the origin of clear 
knowledge, and the immortality of the soul. But, for the 

20 present, what we have said must be enough. 

same effect, there results therefrom a difference ot feeling in one 
and the same part : such as \ve experience when the same hand is 
struck with a piece of wood or of iron. But when the change which 
occurs in some part restores it to its previous proportion of motion 
and rest, there arises . . . 

I A : the. 

It A gives the words in brackets immediately after "happens. 


Several of the conceptions which are either tacitly taken 
up or expressly defined by Spinoza are no longer familiar 
to us, and have to be learned like the vocabulary of a 
foreign tongue ; with the additional disadvantage that 
our common English supplies no corresponding terms, 
the very moulds having been broken and cast away in 
which the thoughts were shaped." MARTI NEAU. 


[The numbers in large type refer to the pages of the translation 
those in smaller type to the lines. ] 


4. THE Preface on the title-page of A must have been written 
by an ardent follower of Spinoza, not by Spinoza himself. 
Hence Monnikhoff felt justified in substituting a new title- 
page (6), not offensive to the theologians. The engraved 
Portrait in A (which is reproduced here) is the same as that 
found in some copies of the Opera Posthuma, and was prob 
ably inserted in A by Monnikhoff, who also wrote the verses 
facing it. It is uncertain whether the portrait was engraved 
during the life-time of Spinoza. According to Rieuwertsz, 
as reported by Dr. Hallmann in 1704 (see Introduction, 
p. civ.), it was engraved some three or four years after the 
death of Spinoza, probably from the Wolfenbiittel portrait 
(see p. xcvii.). 

The verses facing the portrait have been rendered by Dr. 
Willis as follows : 

" Here Art presents us with Spinoza s lace, 
Wherein deep lines of sober thought we trace 
Yet is the mental likeness better shown 
To those who read and make his works their own." 


The First Part is devoted to the consideration of God, 
His existence, attributes, &c. The same ground was sub- 



sequently covered in the First Part of the Ethics (De Deo). 
This and other resemblances to the Ethics naturally sug 
gested that the Short Treatise was an early draft of the 
Ethics. Monnikhoff actually put Ethica on the title-page of 
B, and the Short Treatise is sometimes referred to as the 
" small Ethics." 


15. The opening is remarkably abrupt. The expression 
"as regards the first" suggests a preceding enumeration 
of topics about to be discussed, but no such enumeration 
is given, unless it be on the title-page of the Treatise, 
namely, God, Man, &c. Monnikhoff tried to avoid this 
crudity by substituting "this" for "the first." But the 
abruptness remains, and is the more striking because so 
many of the other chapters begin with an enumeration of 
the topics to be discussed. Freudenthal has suggested that 
the original opening may have been as follows : " Man has 
an idea of God as a Being consisting of infinite attributes, 
each of which is infinitely perfect in its kind. First, we 
will show that such a Being exists, and then we shall give 
our views as to what He is. As regards the first . . ." 
This conjecture is based partly on the second sentence in 
chapter ii., which seems to have been misplaced. 

It is noteworthy that Spinoza begins with proofs that 
God is, and only then proceeds to determine what He is. 
The reason may have been this. He was teaching people 
who were already fairly familiar with the fundamentals of 
the Cartesian philosophy. He therefore commenced with 
the Cartesian proofs of God s existence, and gradually led 
up to his own comparatively strange conception of God. 
This kind of pedagogic method is not uncommon in the 
history of philosophy. Kant, e.g., started from the then 
current psychology and gradually led up to very different, 
almost startling results. 


The proofs themselves are mainly (though not altogether) 
Cartesian. (See Meditations, III. and V., and the Appendix 
in the translation of Descartes Method, &c., by John 
Veitch). Unlike Descartes, however, Spinoza attaches the 
greatest weight to the a priori arguments. 

15, 5. A priori. An argument is said to be a priori when 
it proceeds from the character of a thing to its implications, 
from conditions to consequences, or from causes to effects. 
It is said to be a posteriori when it proceeds from conse 
quences to conditions, or from effects to causes. These 
terms also have other meanings, but not in Spinoza. 

15, 6ff. The underlying thought is expressed in Spinoza s 
Principia Philosophic? Cartesiancz, I. Def. ix. " When we 
say that something is contained in the nature or concept of 
a certain thing, that is the same as saying that it is true of 
that thing, or that it can be truly affirmed of that thing." 

15, 7. The word "nature" here means "character" or 
" essence." More commonly it means the material world, 
or (in Spinoza and Bruno, e.g.) even the entire universe. 
Note t was intended to guard against this ambiguity. 

15, 13. "Essence" is one of the most difficult terms in 
Spinoza s vocabulary. In the Cogitata Metaphysica it is 
said to be " nothing else than that mode by which 
created objects are comprehended in the attributes of God." 
Briefly, the essence of a thing is its share of, or participation 
in, ultimate reality. In the case of God, essence and exist 
ence coincide. In the case of other things their existence 
as relatively independent entities is distinct from their 

" Eternity," in its stricter sense, does not mean " incessant 
duration in time," but reality independently of time or 
beyond it. 

15, 1 6. "The existence of God is essence." Compare 
Maimonides Guide of the Perplexed, I. Ivii. " It is known 
that existence is an accident [ = quality] appertaining to all 


things, and therefore an element superadded to their essence. 
This must evidently be the case as regards everything the 
existence of which is due to some cause ; its existence is 
an element superadded to its essence. But as regards a 
being whose existence is not due to any cause God 
alone is that being, for His existence, as we have said, is 
absolute existence and essence are perfectly identical. 
He is not a substance to which existence is joined as an 
accident, as an additional element. His existence is always 
absolute, and has never been a new element or an accident 
in Him" (Friedlander s translation, 2nd ed., p. 80). 

15, 21 /. Such merely verbal alternations show that the 
Treatise was never properly edited. Cf. 25, 31. 

The illustration is the same as in Descartes fifth Medita 

16, 2. The reference-mark t is apparently misplaced, 
because the note referred to really follows up the preceding 
a priori arguments, and therefore belongs to 15, 17. 

16, 3. Fonnaliter = actually or objectively (in the modern 
sense). The identification of fonnalis and actualis in 
medieval philosophy was due to the influence of Aristo- 
telianism. According to Aristotle, individual things are 
compounds of Matter and Form, and Form is the more 
important of the two. Matter is the as yet imperfect or the 
merely potential, which requires Form to make it actual. 
Hence during the supremacy of Aristotelian philosophy in 
the Middle Ages, Matter was identified with Potentiality, 
and Form with Actuality, so that j or malls = actualis. 

16, 9. " Objective " = in thought, or subjectively (in the 
modern sense). The present use of the terms "subjective" 
and " objective" is the reverse of former usage. By 
" subject" (subjectum = VTTOKZIJULWOV) used to be meant the 
substrate or concrete reality supporting or " underlying " 
its properties, and hence also the subject of predication, 
because in predication these properties or qualities are 


generally predicated of their " subject." (For an illustra 
tion of the older use of the term "subject," see, e.g., 18, 
23). By " object" (objectum = OLVTIKSIIULWOV), on the other 
hand, was meant something which consisted in " lying 
opposite" or before the mind (quatenus objicitur intellcctui) , 
so that "objective " referred only to the sphere of thought. 
This usage is already met with in the writings of Duns 
Scotus (died 1308), and continued, with some modifications, 
right into the eighteenth century Berkeley, e.g., still used 
" real " as an antithesis to " objective." The noun " object " 
(objectum) acquired its present meaning long before the 
adjective did. Already Descartes used to term " objects " for 
" things" (" in objectis, hoc est in rebus." Principia Phil.). 
The transition to the present meaning of " subjective " was 
probably brought about by the<application of the term subjec- 
tum to the soul as distinguished from (or as the bearer of) 
its " objective " ideas. (Leibniz, e.g., used the expression : 
" subjectwm ou Tame meme.") Hence subjective" came to 
indicate whatever had reference to the soul. 

16, 29 ff. The text is obscure and most probably corrupt. 
" Want de Idea en bestaat niet materialiter van de eigen- 
schap die tot dit \veezen behoort, alzo dat net geen t welk 
bevestigt wordt, en is noch van de zaak noch van dat 
geen t welk van de zaak bevestigt word ; . . ." Sigwart 
translates as though " van de eigenschap " followed imme 
diately after "Idea" " the Idea of the attribute which 
belongs to this being does not exist materialiter. . . ." 
Freudenthal has suggested the insertion of "van de Idea" 
between " het geen t welk" and "bevestigt" "so that 
that which is affirmed [of the Idea] is . . ." But the note 
remains obscure. Perhaps the meaning intended was this. 
The ontological argument maintains that the essence of 
God involves His existence, or (expressed more generally) 
that the essential attributes of a certain Ideatum [=the 
object represented by an idea] imply the presence of yet 


another attribute (existence, in this case). The objection to 
this is that the implied additional attribute may be true of 
the Idea, but not of the Idcatum. And this is met by the 
argument that the new attribute is inferred from the 
other (essential) attributes, and if it is to be predicated at 
all can only be predicated of that which has those other 
(essential) attributes. Now the Idea is not actually com 
posed (materialiter) of those attributes or qualities ; these 
really pertain to the Idcatum. If, therefore, the new attribute 
(existence) follows at all from the others it must be pre 
dicated of the Ideatum, not of the Idea, which is materialiter 
so unlike the Ideatum that the same attributes cannot be 
affirmed of both. This argument does not prove the 
accuracy of the ontological proof ; but it seems to have 
been directed only against the half-hearted acceptance of it 
as valid in so far as the Idea of God was concerned. 

17, 33 /. In opposition to Descartes, Spinoza maintains 
that man could not of himself produce any idea whatever. 
The elementary constituent ideas even of fictions must have 
been called forth in man by external causes. Descartes only 
insisted that man could not produce the idea of God ; 
Spinoza extends the denial to all ideas. Compare 16, 18 ff. 

18,5. Essentia objcctiva or "objective" essence = the 
essence of a thing as represented in thought. The corre 
spondence between an idea and its ideatum, or object, is 
described in the language of scholastic philosophy as a kind 
of two-fold existence of the "essence" of that object. The 
essence exists formalitcr (actually) in the individual concrete 
thing; it exists objective, or has "objective" essence, in 
thought (as an idea). 

18, 8. Formaliter cminenter. This scholastic antithesis 
has reference to the relation of a cause to its effect. If the 
cause contained more reality or greater perfection than its 
effect, then it was said to be an eminent cause, or to pro 
duce its effect eminenter or modo erninentiori. In this way, 


e.g., God (according to Descartes) is the eminent" cause 
of the human mind. But if, on the other hand, the cause 
contained only as much (it cannot, of course, contain less) 
perfection as its cause, it was said to have produced it 
formaliter or secundum eandern for mam. Thus, e.g., the 
pressure of a foot was said to cause a footprint formaliter. 
This use of formaliter is different from that explained in the 
preceding note. 

The words "though not eminentcr . . . outside him" 
seem to be both irrelevant and inaccurate. Possibly they 
are only a reader s comment. It is not clear why God s 
supreme excellence should prevent His being the eminent 
cause of our idea of Him. The opposite view would seem 
more reasonable. Probably it is implied that the idea of 
God contains as much perfection objective as God has 
formaliter; its cause, therefore, can only be formal, not 
eminent, because nothing (not even God Himself) is more 
perfect formaliter than it (the idea of God) is objective. 

18, 13. Pegasus, for instance. Cf. Descartes, Med. V. 

18, 23. Subjectum see note to 16, 9. 

19, 3. Attributes. The expression is here used in its more 
usual meaning, not in the stricter sense in which it is 
generally employed in Spinoza s writings. Hence note f. 
In the stricter sense of the term "attribute" only two 
attributes of God or Nature are known to us, namely, 
Extension and Thought. Each of these is a summum genus, 
and is not derived from anything else. " Properties " 
(propria or proprietaries) are derivative, they follow from the 
attributes. The " attributes " referred to in the text are, as 
note t explains, only " properties," because they are not 
summa genera, they are not " substantial " or self-dependent, 
but imply the "attributes" which constitute "substance" 
or the self-dependent reality (God or Nature). 

20, 15. Causa sui = the self-existent. The expression is 
awkward and misleading. Spinoza did not invent it ; it was 


part of the philosophical vocabulary of his time, and had 
been in use for many centuries before that. It was probably 
suggested originally by the Platonic expression iavTo KIVOVV. 
Strictly speaking, that which is causa sui, or "its own 
cause," really has no cause at all. Spinoza himself has 
pointed out the absurd implication of the phrase causa sui. 
It seems to imply that something which did not exist could 
yet operate in such a way as to bring itself into existence 
(see 114, 6 ff., and 146, 18 ff.). 

20, 17. Thomas Aquinas (? 1225-1274), called Doctor 
angelicus, brought about the most intimate fusion between 
Aristotelianism and Catholicism. His favourite argument for 
the existence of God was the Aristotelian a posteriori argu 
ment that the existence of Motion implied the existence of 
an original unmoved Mover. The passage referred to is 
probably Summa Theologize, I. ii. 2. 

20, 24 ff. The rest of this note seems to be quite irrelevant 
here. A gives it in its proper context, 22, 12 ff. 


21, 4 ff. This chapter begins immediately with a definition 
of God, but without any indication as to the way in which 
the definition has been arrived at. Note f, however, makes 
it clear that Spinoza really started with the traditional con 
ception of God as Ens perfectissimum, or " the most perfect 
Being " (see lines 18 /.), and developed his conception from it. 

It is noteworthy that the definition of God given here does 
not describe Him as " Substance," as does the later defini 
tion in the Ethics. Here the definition of God is followed 
up by an independent treatment of the notion " Substance " 
(lines 9ff.), and it is then made apparent that the two notions 
" God " and " Substance " converge. 

21, 9. Spinoza begins his account of " substance ;; with 
out defining what he means by that term. He evidently 


starts from the Cartesian doctrine of two ultimate kinds 
of substances, namely, Extension and Thought, and then 
suddenly shows that there can only be one Substance. To 
begin with he tacitly assumes the possibility of the existence 
of a multiplicity of substances all grounded in the perfection 
of God. When he has shown that there is only one 
Substance he identifies it with God by identifying both with 
Nature. Descartes had defined " substance " as " a thing 
which exists in such a way as to stand in need of nothing 
beyond itself in order to its existence." " In truth " (he 
added) " there can be conceived but one Substance which is 
absolutely independent, and that is God." He applied, 
however, the term " substance " (or " created substance ") 
to minds and bodies, because, except God, nothing else is 
required for their existence ; and, pointing out that Thought 
and Extension were the " principal attributes " constituting 
the essence of minds and bodies respectively, he spoke of 
Extension and Thought as the ultimate and distinct kinds 
of substances. These substances acquired such a measure 
of independence that it was beyond Descartes to reunite 
them again, except in an external kind of way. 

Spinoza approached the subject with the conviction that 
Nature was One and perfect, in the fullest sense of these 
expressions. He consequently took "Substance" quite 
seriously. The only really independent or self-dependent 
being was the complete system of Reality, or Nature. Hence, 
beginning with a somewhat looser (Cartesian) conception 
of " Substance," he gradually led up to the conclusion that 
there was only one substance, of which all other so-called 
substances were either attributes or modifications. 

21, 21 ff. Note ft presents in a different form the argu 
ment of the text as far as 25, 13. 

23, 23 ff. This distinction between "creating " and "gene 
rating " occurs also in the Cogitata Metaphysica, II. x., where, 
however, he seems to vindicate the possibility of creation, 



only confining it to substances (in the Cartesian sense) or 
attributes. " A created object " (he says there) " is one which 
presupposes for its existence nothing except God." Modes 
and accidents presuppose also the attributes or substances 
Extension and Thought. They are consequently not 
"created," but "generated." Only that has been created 
" whose essence is clearly conceived even without existence, 
and is conceived, moreover, per se " Extension is given as 
an instance. As soon as Spinoza identified Extension, 
Thought, and all other (unknown) attributes with God, 
there was no room for this notion of " creation," except, 
perhaps, in that inane sense in which it is still implied in the 
expression causa sui. Hence the denial of " creation " in 
the present treatise. And the " essences " of things, though 
described in the Cogitata Metaphysica as having been 
" created," must here be regarded simply as eternal. Traces 
of the earlier belief in "creation " are, however, still observ 
able in the Treatise, pp. 24, 57. 

24, 24^. Cf. Maimonides Guide (II. xx. p. 190): "The 
series of causes ends with the First Cause, from which 
everything derives its existence, since it is impossible that 
the series should continue in infinitum." Here, then, 
Spinoza agrees with Maimonides, and with the Aristotelians 
generally, that the causal series cannot continue in infinitum. 
But his views changed subsequently, and in his i2th Letter 
we find Spinoza praising Rabbi Hasdai Crescas for furnish 
ing an argument for the existence of God, independently 
of the supposed impossibility of such an infinite causal 

24, 30. " This only substance." Spinoza does not say 
what substance he means, but he evidently identifies it with 

24, 31. "Substance or attribute." The expression is note 
worthy. When writing the Short Treatise Spinoza was still 
very much under the influence of Cartesian nomenclature. 


He was still inclined to speak of Extension and Thought 
as substances. It seemed to him a matter of indifference 
whether these were described as "substances " or as " attri 
butes" ; he used either term, and sometimes both in con 
junction, as here (see, e.g., 28, 13 ; 29, 5 ; 34, 2 ff. ; 154, 18). 
At this stage, in fact, he defined " attribute " in the same 
terms as he subsequently denned "substance." In his 2nd 
Letter (1661) he denned " attribute " as " whatever is con 
ceived through itself and in itself, so that the conception there 
of does not involve the conception of anything else." He 
illustrated his meaning by comparing Extension with motion. 
Extension can be conceived through itself and in itself, and 
is therefore an attribute ; motion, on the other hand, cannot 
be conceived without Extension ; it is therefore not an 
attribute, but only a mode (or modification) of an attribute 
(Extension). In his Qth Letter (1663) Spinoza defined 
"substance" in the same terms as the preceding definition 
of "attribute," and explicitly identified the two. " By sub 
stance I mean that which exists in itself, and is conceived 
through itself ; that is, the conception whereof does not 
involve the conception of anything else. I mean the same 
by attribute, except that it is called attribute with respect to 
the intellect which ascribes a certain character to sub 
stance." This, Spinoza added, will explain what he meant 
by using the expression, " substance or attribute." Briefly, 
"substance" simply consists of its "attributes," but of all 
of them ; while each "attribute" is only one (ultimate and 
real) aspect or feature of "substance." The totality of 
attributes is therefore identical with substance, and Spinoza 
accordingly felt at liberty to speak sometimes as though he 
ignored the difference between " substance " and " attri 
bute." This, however, occasioned some difficulty among 
his disciples and friends. He therefore eventually adopted 
the stricter distinction found in the Ethics. But even the 
Ethics still retains traces of the earlier and laxer usage ; in 


Ethics, I. xv. Schol., he speaks of " extended substance" as 
" one of the infinite attributes of God." 

25, 2 /. What Spinoza meant by the argument " from the 
simplicity of God s will " may be explained by the following 
passage in Maimonides Guide of the Perplexed (II. xiv.) : 
" An agent is active at one time and inactive at another, 
according as the circumstances are favourable or unfavour 
able. . . . As, however, God is not subject to accidents 
which could bring about a change in His will, and is not 
affected by obstacles and hindrances that might appear or 
disappear, it is impossible, they [i.e., those who maintain 
the eternity of the world] argue, to imagine that God is 
active at one time and inactive at another. He is, on the 
contrary, always active in the same manner as He is always 
in actual existence" (p. 175). 

25, 7/. This is a difficult sentence. " En dat meer is, zo 
doende zouden er oneyndelijke zelfstandigheeden meer niet 
zijn als er zijn, het welke ongerijmt is." Quite literally it 
means, u . . . there would be no more infinite substances 
than there are . . ." By taking " meer " as though it pre 
ceded " oneyndelijke," we get " . . . there would be more 
infinite substances not in existence than there are in exist 
ence." This seems less unintelligible, but its relevancy is 
not obvious. Perhaps it was only some reader s marginal 
comment. B omits it. 

25, 9-13. The identification of Nature with God does not 
appear to be a plausible conclusion from what precedes. 
Freudenthal has suggested that this sentence is in the 
wrong place, and should follow immediately after line 12 
on p. 23. 

25, 14^. The consideration of objections which begins 
here is regarded by Avenarius and Sigwart as a later inter 
polation. The main argument, they say, is continued on 
the following page, line 20, the intervening paragraphs 
being obviously a digression. But whether it is a later 


insertion or not ; the passage does not seem to me to be 
really a digression. Its purpose is to confirm by a different 
line of argument the identification of God with Nature, 
which is the burden of the preceding paragraph. The usual 
conception of Nature as created by, and different from, 
God, tacitly assumes that there is a difference between the 
ideas or plans of God, and His realisation or actualisation 
of these ideal possibilities. By attacking this distinction 
between the ideal and the real, between the possible and 
the actual, Spinoza evidently helps to confirm his identifica 
tion of God and Nature, both of which are real, and the 
totality of all that is real. Viewed in this way, the passage 
forms an important part of Spinoza s argument, and we find 
it repeated in the Ethics, I. xvii. Schol. 

25, 24 /. Spinoza s view that God " cannot create what is 
self-contradictory " is also found in Maimonides, and is 
opposed to the view of Descartes. Descartes put no limita 
tions whatever to God s omnipotence (except apparently in 
Med. VI.) ; even contradictory propositions might be true 
together if God willed it so. Maimonides, on the other 
hand, maintained that even God could not endow a thing 
with contradictory qualities (Guide, III. xv. p. 279). 

25, 25. " As it is . . . " = for it is self-contradictory, or 
it is like expecting God to do what is self-contradictory, 
when we say, &c. 

25, 31. Merely verbal alternatives. See note to 15, 21. 

26, i ff. The subtle conundrum, whether God can know 
more than He does know, was actually discussed by Peter 
Lombard, Bishop of Paris (died 1134). 

26, 22 /. " Although . . ." Spinoza is here alluding to 
Descartes assumption (Princ. Phil. I. Ix.) that " it is suffi 
cient to assure us that two substances are really mutually 
distinct if only we are able clearly and distinctly to conceive 
the one of them without the other." 

26, 32. " Infinite," that is, in number as well as in extent. 


27, 3 ff. It has not yet been shown that it is impossible for 
substances to begin to exist ; nor is it shown in this Treatise 
as we now have it. Something seems, therefore, to be 

27, 6 ff. " Substance " is not used here in the stricter 
sense, but instead of "attribute." The "essence" of the 
one " substance " (in the stricter meaning) does involve 
" existence," but when either Thought or Extension is 
" considered separately," then we can conceive it clearly 
without assuming its existence (cf. Cog. Metaph. I. ii.). 
Note ff corrects the loose employment of the word " sub 
stance " in the text. 

28, i ff. Descartes, e.g., argued that "God cannot be 
body," because extension involves divisibility, and this 
again passivity, which is an imperfection, because it implies 
dependence on something else (Princ. Phil. I. xxiii.). 

28, 5. The account of Nature which follows in the text 
contains many thoughts which are also found in the writ 
ings of Giordano Bruno. See the notes to the first 
Dialogue (p. 183 /.). 

28,6. "Things of reason" mere modes of thought. 
In the Cog. Metaph. (I. i. and iii.) Spinoza distinguishes as 
follows between a real thing (ens reale), a chimera, a thing 
of reason (ens rationis), and a fiction (ens fictum) : A chimera 
is only a verbal expression denoting something which can 
neither be, nor be conceived, because it involves a self- 
contradiction (e.g., a square circle) ; a thing of reason (or a 
merely logical entity) is a mode of thought which does not 
exist outside the thinking mind, though it may be an im 
portant means of representing extra-mental realities (e.g., 
genera and species, time, number, and measure) ; a fiction 
is " a thing of reason," in so far as it is only a mode of 
thought (or of imagination) and has no corresponding reality 
outside the mind ; but not all " things of reason " are fictions, 
only those which involve arbitrary or accidental imaginary 


combinations. The Scholastics did not as a rule distinguish 
between res fictce and entia rationis. Burgersdijck describes 
both as " entia quorum esse nihil aliud est quam intelligi," 
that is, as mere modes of thought. 

28, 7. " Nature" is here used in the narrower and more 
usual sense, namely, as equivalent to "the physical world." 
In the wider sense peculiar to Spinoza and Bruno, " Nature " 
= Substance = the entire Universe. In " Nature " thus re 
garded, " things of reason " have reality as modes of thought. 
Hence the note (line 13), " In Nature, that is, in substantial 
extension " = in the so-called Substance Extension, or in 
"Substance" regarded solely under the "attribute" Ex 

29, 3. The view that water " consists of straight oblong 
particles " is Cartesian (Meteor ologia, I. 3). 

29, 24. The " substance " referred to is that of Extension 
("substance" here = "attribute " cf. note to 24, 31), of 
which water is a "mode" or modification. Extension, it 
is here maintained, is a continuum. 

30, i /. What is here said to have been " already stated " 
is first considered in the Dialogues which follow, and in 
chapter iii. Apparently something is missing from the 
preceding part of the Treatise. 

30, 3. An " immanent " or " inner " cause is a cause whose 
effects are confined within itself, as distinguished from a 
" transeunt " or " transitive " cause which operates on things 
outside itself. God, according to Spinoza, is an " imma 
nent" cause for the same reason that he is causa sui, 
namely, because " outside God there is nothing at all," 
whether to affect Him or to be affected by Him. This 
conception involves, of course, the view that God is not 
outside or above the world, but in it. In other words, 
Spinoza s God is not a transcendent but an immanent God. 
And since the time of Spinoza the doctrine of divine imma 
nence has become a commonplace among theologians of all 


the chief religions, instead of being more or less confined 
to the more pronounced mystics, as it was till then. 

30, loff. This illustration of an immanent cause (which 
is also repeated on p. 34, line 30) seems unfortunate, be 
cause Spinoza says distinctly (106, 20 ff. ; cf. also p. 37, note) 
that the " Understanding" is only an abstraction ; it cannot, 
therefore, cause anything. Had Spinoza revised the Treatise 
for publication this and similar inconsistencies would have 
been removed. 

30, 24. " If body," &c. that is, if matter were really sub 
stance, or if substance were merely matter, and had no other 
attributes, &c. 

31, 2 ff. In the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (xiii.) there 
is a similar distinction between God s " absolute attributes," 
which unfold the "absolute essence of God," and other 
"attributes" (aspects or properties) which indicate His 
relation to " created things." 

31, 7. " An extraneous denomination " (denominatio extrin- 
sica or externa) or " external designation " is contrasted with 
an "intrinsic denomination" (denominatio interna or intrin- 
sica). The latter unfolds the essential attributes of a thing ; 
the former only the non-essential properties, accidents, &c. 
The term is used somewhat loosely here. Usually Spinoza 
means by "denominatio extrinsica " a term that indicates the 
relation of one thing to another or what one thing is or 
does to another, as distinguished from what it is in itself. 
In this more usual sense self-existence, eternity, unity, and 
immutability could hardly be described as "extraneous 
denominations." Possibly there is a slight confusion in the 
text ; or the division which Spinoza intended may have been 
as follows. Whatever is predicated of God denotes either 
(a) what is essential in Him, or (b) what is not essential ; 
if non-essential (&), then it indicates either (i) a " pro 
perty " of God other than, though deducible from, His 
" essential attributes," but still representing what God 


is in Himself, or (ii) some relationship in which God stands 
to others. So long as Spinoza did not employ the term 
" attribute " in the strict sense in which he here distinguishes 
it from " properties/ anything coming under (a) or (b i) 
would be designated as denominatio intrinsica, while (b ii) 
alone would be described as denominatio extrinsica. But 
owing to his stricter usage he had no suitable name for 
(b i) as distinguished from both (a) and (b ii). He seems, 
therefore, to have grouped (b i) and (b ii) together as 
" extraneous denominations " in a wider sense. If so, the 
word " either " has got misplaced somehow. 

31, ii. " What he is "that is, essentially. 

31, 12. "Attributes" = properties (not " attributes" in the 
strict sense). 


32. The Outline of the Short Treatise which was dis 
covered and published by Boehmer does not mention the 
Dialogues, although it refers to the Notes and the Appen 
dices. This seems disquieting at first. Yet no one has 
seriously questioned the authenticity of the Dialogues. 
Their contents are as intimately connected with the line of 
thought expounded in the rest of the Short Treatise as the 
contents of the Treatise itself are with the trend of thought 
in Spinoza s Ethics. But although their genuineness cannot 
be disputed it may be questioned whether they originally 
formed part of the Treatise, or were only subsequently 
added either by Spinoza or some one else. The tendency is 
to regard them as more or less independent essays, which 
were only inserted afterwards in their present place by a 
disciple or copyist. If their insertion was an afterthought, 
then it is quite conceivable that some of the manuscripts of 
the Short Treatise may not have contained the Dialogues ; 


and if Boehmer s Outline was based on such a manuscript 
the omission of all reference to the Dialogues would thus be 
accounted for. The fact that they are given in both codices, 
A and B, of which A may have been copied already during 
the lifetime of Spinoza, is certainly in their favour. 

With remarkable agreement most critics have treated the 
Dialogues as the oldest of Spinoza s known writings. The 
arguments for this view mostly turn on their supposed 
immaturity, fragmentariness, and crudeness. Freudenthal, 
however, has shown (Spinozastudien, II.) that this view is 
untenable, because the Dialogues are really unintelligible 
unless they are read in the light of various ideas explained 
in different parts of the Short Treatise. He maintains 
(rightly, we think) that the Dialogues were written after the 
the bulk of the Short Treatise, as separate and fuller elucida 
tions of certain problems already briefly dealt with in the 
Treatise, a familiarity with which they assumed. It is this 
tacit reliance on the exposition of various views already 
given in the Treatise that gives to the Dialogues an appear 
ance of fragmentariness and crudeness. In reality they 
are no more immature than the rest of the Short Treatise, 
while their very assumption of the various doctrines ex 
plained in the Treatise shows that they must have been 
written later. 

To some extent Sigwart anticipated Freudenthal s view 
by showing that the second Dialogue might very well have 
been written after the rest of the Treatise. But he insisted 
that the first Dialogue must have been written some years 
before the Treatise. The two Dialogues, however, can hardly 
be separated. The second one really takes up the theme 
with which the first concludes, and the closing remarks of 
the second Dialogue seem to revert deliberately to the 
opening words of the first. 



The insertion of this Dialogue here was no doubt suggested 
by the references to Nature in the preceding (second) chapter 
(pp. 24-27). For this Dialogue gives a further exposition of 
Spinoza s conception of Nature. The view of Nature as 
animated and as coinciding with the Universe in all its 
entirety and eternity is also found in the writings of 
Giordano Bruno, especially in the Dialogues De la Causa, 
&c. Avenarius and Sigwart have cited numerous passages 
from Bruno which are similar in intent to this and other 
parts of the Short Treatise. They even regard this Dialogue 
as representing an early stage in the history of Spinoza when 
he was under the more or less dominant influence of Bruno. 
But no conclusive evidence has been adduced so far to show 
that Spinoza was even acquainted with Bruno s writings. 
And even Sigwart did not feel sure on this matter. Mar- 
tineau thought that most of the resemblances between Bruno 
and Spinoza were superficial and illusory. Neoplatonic views 
similar to those of Bruno were very much in the intellectual 
atmosphere of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and 
Spinoza may have become familiar with them through 
Jewish and other sources. In any case, the resemblance 
between Spinoza and Bruno is by no means fundamental. 
Spinoza went far beyond Bruno. Notwithstanding all his 
rhapsodies on the infinity of Nature Bruno never quite 
relinquished the idea of a God who was somehow above and 
beyond Nature his God was still transcendent; Spinoza, 
on the Bother hand, never wavered, he took his conception 
of the infinity of Nature very strictly, and following up its 
apparently logical implication he boldly identified Nature 
with God, and conceived God as absolutely immanent in 
Nature. Avenarius and others, basing their views on the 
supposed early date of this Dialogue, have distinguished 
three phases of Spinoza s Pantheism. In all of them 


Spinoza identified the three terms, God, Nature, Substance, 
by showing that the same predicates apply to each of them. 
But at different stages, they say> Spinoza started with a 
different term for his datum. In the first Dialogue, under 
the supposed influence of Bruno, he set out from the term 
Nature; this was the first phase. The Short Treatise was 
supposed to represent the second phase, when, under the 
influence of Descartes, he took his start from the term God 
(see chapter i.). Lastly, the Ethics was said to represent 
the third phase, when, having attained to complete inde 
pendence and maturity, Spinoza commenced with the term 
Substance. But this whole conception of the development 
of Spinoza s philosophy is untenable. The supposed in 
fluence of Bruno is problematic. The first Dialogue 
already shows a knowledge of Descartes. And Spinoza s 
attitude towards Cartesianism is fundamentally antagonistic 
both in the Short Treatise and in the Dialogues. No Car 
tesian could think of identifying God with Nature. So far 
as his writings show, Spinoza identified God, Nature, and 
Substance from the first, and seems to have attached no 
peculiar significance to any of them as a starting-point. It 
is true, of course, as Martineau and others have pointed out, 
that the three terms, "though identical in their application, 
differ somewhat in their meaning ; under Nature we are 
expected to think of the continuous Source of birth; under 
God, of the universal cause of things ; under Substance, of the 
permanent reality behind phenomena." But that is another 

82,11,15. " Understanding" "Reason." Understanding 
is hardly the right word for what is meant here by the 
Dutch Verstand = ? Intellectus. " Spirit " or " spiritual 
insight " might be better in some respects. It represents 
the highest form of knowledge, namely, knowledge by way 
of immediate intuition. Reason, on the other hand, repre 
sents the lower grade of knowledge by way of discursive 


inference. It will be observed that " Understanding " does 
not argue, but just delivers its " immediate apprehension " 
(aanschouw), and takes no further part in the debate. The 
distinction between Understanding and Reason is explained 
in Book II. chapters xxi., xxii., xxvi., and a knowledge of 
this distinction is evidently assumed in this Dialogue. In 
the opening chapters of Book II. the same distinction is 
drawn between Belief and Clear Knowledge. But the 
nomenclature in this Dialogue agrees with that in the later 

32, 17. In omitting from the text the words given in the 
foot-note (p. 32) we have adopted a suggestion of Freuden- 
thal, which makes the meaning quite clear. All the words 
(except "namely") which we have relegated to the foot-note, 
also the words " we avoid this absurdity by stating that " 
(lines 17 /.), are written in the margin in A. All these mar 
ginal additions make the text unintelligible. Apparently the 
words given in the foot-note represent some reader s attempt 
to surmount the obscurity caused by the accidental omission 
of the words " we avoid this absurdity by stating that"; but 
when this omission was rectified the other additions were 
still retained because their origin and significance were 
unknown to the copyist. 

32, 21 ff. " Desire" here means "evil desire" = concupi- 
scentia, not cupiditas. Freudenthal has pointed out that 
the expression usually employed in the Short Treatise for 
"Desire" is Begeerte, while here we have Begeerlijkheid. 
Moreover, Spinoza s conception of the function of "desire" 
(cupiditas) as such is very different from the sinister role 
which Begeerlijkheid plays in this Dialogue. 

" Desire " voices here the dualistic view of Descartes 
that there are two kinds of substances (extended and 
thinking substances) which have nothing in common. 
Spinoza combats this view in favour of his own monistic 


32, 25. The insertion of "not" was suggested by Freuden- 
thal, who rightly pointed out that in Ethics, I., Definition ii., 
and in Letter IV., Spinoza says distinctly that "body is not 
limited by thought, nor thought by body." Cf. p. 237, Def. iii. 

S3, 3 /. The words "but this . . . nothing" are quite 
inappropriate here. Freudenthal has suggested that they 
must be some reader s marginal comment. 

33, 16 ff. This outburst of indignation against " Desire " is 
only intelligible in the light of Book II. chapter xiv. (p. 100), 
an acquaintance with which is assumed. 

33, 24 ff. It is noteworthy that the later objections raised 
by " Desire" (lines 1-13) seem to be ignored by " Reason." 
But they are considered in chapter ii. (pp. 25 ff.). Possibly 
the lines 1-13 were not originally in the Dialogue. A reader 
may have added in the margin these objections which he 
copied from chapter ii., and an uncritical copyist may have 
transfered the marginal note into the text. 

33, 26 ff. The relation of substance to its attributes is 
here described as a causal relationship ; the attributes are 
supported by substance ; they depend on it not logically only, 
but causally. 

33, 29 /. The attributes are not actually called "modes" 
here ; their relation to substance is simply [compared (for 
argument s sake) with that of modes to attributes. 

34, 12. A "second notion" (notio secunda) is contrasted 
with a " first notion " (notio prima). The latter represents 
what things really are, while the former is some mode of 
conceiving things. The same antithesis was also expressed 
by another pair of scholastic terms, namely, intentio prima 
and intentio secunda. What the mind "intends" or appre 
hends in the first instance is some concrete reality (say, a 
particular tree), and this constitutes the " first intention " ; 
but as the result of reflecting on and comparing such " first 
intentions or notions " (as, e.g., when we compare various 
trees, and mentally classify them into genera and species, 


according to their resemblances and differences) we obtain 
" second notions or intentions/ which do not directly 
represent real things, but are so many ways of thinking 
about them. Of course, even " second notions " are not 
altogether "mere ideas," for they are grounded in the real 
character of things. 

34, 16. " The thinking power." The attribute Thought 
is also described by Spinoza as a "power" in Letter XXXI I. 
(statuo dari in Natura potentiam infinitam cogitandi) and in 
the Ethics, II. i. SchoL, and II. xxi. Schol. On p. 120 (line 4) 
the attribute Extension is similarly described as a "power." 
The attributes thus seem to be conceived here as so many 
" lines of force " in which God manifests or reveals Himself. 


36. In Dr. W. Meyer s modern Dutch version of the Short 
Treatise the second Dialogue is appended to the next chapter. 
His reason will be considered in the first note to that chapter. 
It is noteworthy that the concluding words of chapter ii. 
(31, 1 6) do not refer to a second Dialogue they only refer 
to a Dialogue (one, not two). This, however, may only 
mean that the insertion of the second Dialogue in this place 
was an afterthought. But it can hardly be separated from 
the first Dialogue. It is the reference to the distinction 
between immanent and transeunt causality at the end of 
the first Dialogue that furnishes the theme of the second ; 
and the concluding remarks of the second seem to refer 
deliberately to the opening remarks of the first. 

36, 3. " Theophilus." This name (in the Italiam forms 
Teofilo and Filoteo) occurs also in Bruno s Dialogues De la 
Causa, &c. ; and in Bruno s Dialogues, as in this, the 
author s own views are put into the mouth of Theophilus." 
This may be a mere coincidence, as the name would naturally 
occur to a writer whose moral ideal was " the IOVQ of GocL" 


36, 6-8. The reference is to 35, 3, and 41, 19. 

36, 9-20. See 42, 21-24. An acquaintance with this 
passage is clearly assumed. 

36, 9. " A remote cause " is contrasted with a proximate 
cause. The latter produces its effect immediately, without 
the intervention of anything else, while the former produces 
its (remote) effect by means of an intervening proximate 
cause or a chain of proximate causes. The terms proximate 
and remote are relative to a given effect ; every cause might 
be both proximate and remote, but not in relation to the 
same effect. A remote cause was supposed to be separated 
from, not in contact with, its effect. Hence the difficulty 
raised in the text as to how an immanent cause could also 
be a remote cause. 

36, 12-16. The text is corrupt. B seems to have substi 
tuted "prior" for "remote" on account of the difficulties 
presented by the text. The words which we have added in 
square brackets are intended to suggest the real meaning of 
the original text, in accordance with 42, 4 ff., and Ethics, I. 
xxviii. Schol. 

36, 22 /. See 147, 1-6. 

37, 32 /. See 55, 12 /. 

38, 12 f. 5*0146, 27 ff. 

38, 27 /. See 147, 16-24. 

39, Sff. In his CogitataMetaphysica,ll.x.,Spmozama mta ms 
that nothing which has been created by God can be eternal. 

39, igff. Cf. Clauberg s Logica Vetus et Nova, I. vi. 62. 
" Sol est causa a qua conclave illuminatur ; sed remotio val- 
varum est CAUSA SINE QUA NON fit illuminatio." 

40, 1-3. See 133, 23 #. 

40, 3-7. How this union with God is to be brought about 
has already been indicated in the beginning of the first 
Dialogue (32, 4^.), where it is stated that the perfection of 
Love depends on that of the Understanding. Indeed the 
sentence now under consideration may be regarded as the 


final reply to the question raised there. This conception 
of the Understanding (or Intellect) as the supreme bond of 
union between Man and God is essentially Aristotelian, and 
was adopted by the leading Jewish philosophers of the 
Middle Ages, notably by Maimonides (see the writer s 
Aristotle in Medieval Jewish Thought). In his Guide (III. li.) 
Maimonides says expressly that " Man s love of God is 
identical with his knowledge of Him"; he also uses the 
expression " intellectual worship of God," which is so like 
Spinoza s " intellectual love of God." 


41. The way in which this chapter is copied in codex A 

is apt to rouse suspicion. The second Dialogue ends near 

the bottom of the page, leaving just about as much space 

as is left at the bottom of most pages in that manuscript. 

The last line of the Dialogue contains the last two words 

only. Then in the middle of the same line we have 

"Cap. III./ and four lines of very small writing follow to 

the very bottom of the page. The next page shows the 

same small handwriting, which, however, gets larger towards 

the end of that page, where the usual space is left. On the 

following page there are only five lines of big scrawl, more 

than half the page being left blank. The concluding five 

lines of chapter iii. are written on the next page, and are 

immediately followed, on the same page, by " Cap. IV." The 

numeral IV. has also been tampered with, so have the 

numbers at the heads of several subsequent chapters. And 

since chapter iii. treats of divine causality generally, while 

the second Dialogue is devoted more particularly to God s 

immanent causality, Dr. W. Meyer holds that the second 

Dialogue was misplaced by the copyist, and should really 

follow chapter iii. But with due deference to Dr. Meyer, it 

seems doubtful whether the facts really necessitate this 



construction. It seems obvious that chapter iii. was copied 
into A after chapter iv. (possibly also some of the rest of 
the Treatise) had already been copied. But the copyist had 
evidently left a space for chapter iii., though he miscalculated 
the amount of space required. It is known that Spinoza s 
manuscripts circulated among his friends in parts, just as 
they were completed. Most likely the copyist of A had 
the MS. of chapter iv. before he had that of chapter iii., so 
he left some blank pages for the latter and copied it when 
he got it afterwards. Chapter iii. is in the same hand 
writing as the rest of the Treatise in A. And as regards the 
alterations in the numerals it appears certain to me that the 
Arabic numerals have simply been changed into Roman 
ones the change being probably made by the fastidious 
Monnikhoff. Lastly, as regards the contents of chapter iii. 
and the second Dialogue, Spinoza is not at all particular 
in this Treatise about repeating himself, and the second 
Dialogue, as already shown, has a point of contact with the 
first. If we had very scrupulous regard to connection of 
content several of the chapters of the Treatise would have to 
be transposed, as, indeed, Dr. Meyer himself has pointed out. 

41, 12 ff. The elaborate classification of causes to which 
Spinoza refers in this chapter is to be found in Franco 
Burgersdijck s Institutionum Logicarum Libri Duo. Burgers- 
dijck, as already stated, was Professor of Philosophy at 
Leyden in the early decades of the seventeenth century, 
and his book on logic, to judge by the numerous editions 
still extant, must have been a most popular manual. 
Several editions of the book were edited by Burgersdijck s 
successor, Heereboord, to whom Spinoza refers in his Meta 
physical Thoughts, II. xii. It was this reference to Heere 
boord that Trendelenburg used as a clue to unravel this 
complicated and somewhat obscure classification of causes. 

Though complex, the classification was really not so 
fanciful as may first appear. Substitute " conditions " for 


" causes," and the classification still contains much that is 
true and valuable. If by " cause " we mean " the totality of 
conditions/ then there is no room for any such elaborate 
classification of causes. But for all practical purposes we 
are satisfied to apply the term " cause " to something very 
far short of "the totality of conditions/ and Mill has shown 
how arbitrary popular usage is in singling out now this, now 
that condition as " the cause/ when, as a matter of fact, all 
the conditions are equally necessary, if not equally striking 
or interesting on different occasions of the same kind of 
occurrence. It was according to this wider and looser use 
of the term that " causes " were classified in such an elaborate 
way. The accompanying table (see next page) is taken from 
Burgersdijck s Logic (p. 282 of the London edition of 1651). 

In the accompanying table we see the then usual Aristo 
telian division of Causes into Material, Formal, Efficient, 
and Final, each of these being again subdivided in various 
ways. It would take up too much space to deal with all of 
them here. We are only concerned with the eightfold 
division of Efficient causes, which Spinoza has in view in 
the present chapter. It will be observed that Spinoza 
enumerates them in precisely the same order as they are 
given in the following table from Burgersdijck s Logic. The 
following definitions are also taken from the same book. 

41, 15. An emanative cause is one which produces its 
effect by its sheer existence, while an active (or acting) cause 
is one which produces its effect through the medium of 
some activity which it exercises. Fire, for instance, is the 
emanative cause of its own heat, but an active cause of the 
heat which it imparts to other things. Spinoza practically 
does away with this distinction in the case of God. " Ema 
native " here has nothing to do with the " Emanation " theory 
of Neoplatonism or Mysticism. Spinoza did not use the 
expression in the Ethics, possibly in order to avoid this 
suggestion of " emanation." 



" 8 

O/(C-/ ( 

/ Mater ia ; 
eaque vel 

( Prima, 
1 Secunda. 
j, j Rerum Naturalium, 
1 ,, Artificialium. 
j jj j Generation! s, 
\ Compositions. 



Forma ; 


Substantiate , 

eaque vel 








II. - 


\ , 

III. . 

Lib era, 


IV. . 

Per se, 
Per accidens. 

eaque vel 



k Minus principalisl Proegumena, 



\ VIII. 


Finis; , 
\ isque vel 

j J Cut, 
1 Cujus. 
jj j Principalis, 
\ Secundarius. 
jjj ) Subordinatus, 
{ Ultimus. 


41, 19. The distinction between an immanent and a tran- 
seunt cause has already been explained in the note to 30, 3. 

41, 22. A free cause (according to Burgersdijck) is one 
which acts from deliberate choice ; a natural (or necessary) 
cause is one which acts from necessity (causa libera est, qua 
consulto id est, ex judicio rationis causat. Necessaria, qua 
non consulto , sed necessitate naturce causat). This distinction, 
however, did not commend itself to Spinoza. He employed 
these antithetic terms somewhat differently. By a free cause 
(as will be seen in the next chapter) he meant one which 
acts without any external compulsion, or externally imposed 
necessity. In this sense a cause might be free although 
acting from necessity, namely, when the necessity was in 
herent in its own character, and not due to outside forces. 

42, i. A cause through himself, or causa per se, is one whose 
effects are due to his or its own natural character ; a cause 
per accidens is one which produces a certain effect not as 
the result of its own character, but owing to some unusual 
circumstances. Heereboord gives the following illustration. 
When an animal gives birth to one of its own kind it is a 
causa per se, but when it gives birth to a monstrosity then 
it is causa per accidens. Burgersdijck remarks, with quiet 
humour, Ad causam per accidens revocatur fortuna et casus. 

42, 4-14. A principal cause is one which produces an 
effect by virtue of its own powers alone, without the aid of 
anything else. A subsidiary cause (causa minus principalis) 
is merely one condition or factor which is necessary but 
not adequate to produce a certain effect. Three kinds of 
subsidiary causes were recognised. Spinoza refers to them 
all, but somewhat obscurely. In lines 7-9 he illustrates not 
the subsidiary cause in general, but one special form of it, 
namely, the instrumental cause (instrumentum). Almost any 
means employed in the production of an effect was called an 
instrumental cause. A second species of subsidiary cause is 
the provoking or inciting cause (causa procatarctica vel causa 


incipiens aut inchoans) that is, any external thing or condi 
tion which incites the principal cause to action. The third, and 
last, kind of subsidiary cause is the predisposing cause (causa 
proegumena), or some internal condition which predisposes 
a thing towards a certain kind of action or process. For 
instance, if a man with a weak chest becomes very ill in 
consequence of a cold caught while in a draughty place, 
then the draught would be described as the provoking (or 
inciting} cause, while hisjweak chest or feeble constitution 
would be the predisposing cause. (Bain made a somewhat 
similar distinction, though of wider applicability, when he 
analysed a cause into a "moving power" and a "colloca 
tion of circumstances.") 

Spinoza s departure from Burgersdijck s division of the 
causa minus principalis is, I think, explicable by the fluctuat 
ing views of the text-books on this point. Clauberg (a copy 
of whose Logica Vetus et Nova Spinoza is known to have 
possessed) divided the efficient causes into causa principalis 
and causa instrumental. No doubt this is the division 
which Spinoza had in view in lines 4-9. On the other 
hand, Keckermann (a copy of whose Sy sterna Logicce was also 
among Spinoza s books) divided as follows : 

[ principalis. r 

~ rr L j I proegumena. 

Causa efficiens \ [ tmpulstva, 

.,..,,. 1 procatarctica. 

\ minus principals. 1 

[ instrumentalis. 

This also gives the four subdivisions practically in the 
same order as Spinoza refers to them. 

42, 15. A first cause is one which is not dependent on 
(or not the effect of) any other cause ; a causa secunda is 
dependent on a first cause. 

42, 17. A universal cause was contrasted with a particular 
one as follows. The latter can only produce one kind of 
effect ; the former can produce different kinds of effects 
by co-operating with various other causes. God, according 


to Spinoza, may be described as a universal cause in so far as 
He is not restricted to any one kind of effect, but not in the 
sense that He can co-operate with causes outside Himself. 

42, 21. For the distinction between a proximate and a 
remote cause see the note to 36, 9. 


43. The theme of this chapter is also discussed by Spinoza 
in the Ethics, I. xvi. xvii. xxxiii., and in the Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus, vi. 

43, 23 ff. Compare the following passage from the Cogitata 
Metaphysica (I. iii.) : " Since nothing exists except by divine 
power alone, it is easy to see that those things which come 
into existence do so by virtue of the decree and will of God. 
But since there is neither inconstancy nor change in God, 
He must have decreed from eternity that He would produce 
those things which He produces now ; and as in order that 
a thing may exist nothing more is required than God s decree 
that it should exist, it follows that all created things have 
been under an eternal necessity to be in existence. Nor can 
we say that they are contingent because God could have 
decreed otherwise ; for, since in eternity there is no when, 
or before, or after, or any other change of time, it follows 
that God did not exist before those things were decreed, to 
be able at all to decree otherwise." On the other hand, in 
Cogit. Metaph. II. vii. Spinoza says that "if God willed it so, 
created things would have a different essence." 

44, 19. The usual scholastic definition of Freedom. 
Burgersdijck (Inst. Log. cap. xvii.) says : Causa libera potest 
agere quicquid, quantum, et quando lubet. Heereboord (Coll. 
Eth. p. 114 quoted by Sigwart) says distinctly that most 
philosophers denned free-will as facultas qua positis omnibus 
ad agendum requisitis potest agere et non agere, aut ita agere 
unum, ut contrarium agere possit. Cf. Descartes, Med. IV. 


46, 8. " This " = that God could not have made things 
different from what they are (see p. 45, 19 ff.). 

46, 12-15. This sentence, and also the last in the same 
paragraph, appear to be quite irrelevant. B omits them. 
Most probably they are only the marginal comments of 
some reader, and not a part of the original text. 


47. Joel has drawn attention to similar views on Provi 
dence in the writings of Hasdai Crescas (The Light of the 
Lord, II. ii. i); also to the fact that Crescas, while treating 
of Providence, employs the same illustration which Spinoza 
gives on p. 42, line 8. 

47, 4-6. This striving is described, in the Tractatus Theo- 
logico-Politicus (cap. xvi.), as the highest law of Nature (Lex 
summa Naturce est, ut unaqucequc res in suo statu, quantum 
in se est, conetur perseverare), and (ibid. cap. vi.) Providence 
is identified with the ordo Nature?. For Spinoza s (later) 
explanation of this striving, see Ethics, III. iv. vi. vii. 


48. See Cogitata Metaphysica, I. iii., and Ethica, I. xxxiii. 
48, 3. " Attribute" is here used in the wider sense = 


48, 10. " Accidental " = that which is neither necessary nor 
impossible. In the passages referred to above, Spinoza 
distinguishes between the " contingent" and the " possible," 
which may be regarded as the two species of the "acci 
dental." The main point is that according to him nothing 
really is "accidental," only some things are regarded as 
accidental on account of our ignorance of the causes or 
their operation. 

48, 24^. A modal proposition (e.g., "S is an accidental 
cause ") was said to be in sensu diviso or in sensu composito 
according as the qualifying expression ("accidental") 



referred to the copula ("is") or to one of the terms ("S" or 
"cause"). See, e.g., Duns Scotus, Qu. super Anal. pr. I. 25. 

49, 8-1 1. The meaning is clear, though awkwardly ex 
pressed. " If the cause were no more compelled to produce 
this or that than not to produce it, then . . ." 

49, 27. The original wording in A seems to have been 
" that God is the only cause, the cause of all things." But 
this was subsequently altered by the copyist, arbitrarily, it 
would seem, as the changes are anything but an improvement. 

49, 28-34. / Ethica, I. xxxii. 

49, 35 ff. This objection, as Joel has pointed out, was 
mentioned and dealt with by Maimonides and Crescas. 
Maimonides (Guide, III. xvi.) ascribed the objection to 
Alexander Aphrodisiensis (circa 200), the author of a treatise 
On Providence. 

50, i^ff. Cf. Maimonides (Guide, III. xviii.) : "It is an 
established fact that species have no existence except in our 
own minds. Species and other classes are merely ideas 
formed in our minds, while everything in real existence is 
an individual object, or an aggregate of individual objects. 
. . . It is wrong to say that divine providence extends only 
to the species, and not to individual beings, as some of the 
philosophers teach. For only individual beings have real 

50, 21-27. Compare CogitataMetaphysica (II. vii.): "What, 
indeed, is more absurd than to exclude from God s know 
ledge individual things, which could not exist for a moment 
without the concurrence of God ? And then they maintain 
that God is ignorant of actually existing things, while they 
ascribe to God a knowledge of universals, which do not 
exist and have no essence apart from that of the individual 
things. We, on the contrary, attribute to God the know 
ledge of individual things, and not of universals, except in 
so far as He knows human minds." 

51, 9 ff. The same illustration occurs in Descartes, Med. VI. 



52. Spinoza seems to refer to this chapter in his Tractatus 
de Intellectus Emendatione (Van Vloten and Land s edition, 
1895, vol. i. p. 24, note i). 

53, 1-6. This view is found, for instance, in Heereboord 
(Disput. ex Philosophia, vol. i. p. 147, quoted by Sigwart). 

53, 9-11. Owing partly to the desire to maintain the 
absolute Unity of God (with which a multiplicity of attri 
butes was thought to be inconsistent), and partly from the 
anxiety to avoid comparing God with man, there arose in 
Arabic and Jewish medieval philosophy a tendency to 
explain away the attributes usually ascribed to God (espe 
cially in the Bible and the Koran). These attributes were 
accordingly treated as having solely a negative import, that 
is, as predicating what God is not rather than what He is, 
or as denying some imperfection rather than affirming any 
(human or quasi-human) characteristic of Him. (Mai- 
monides, e.g., sums up his inquiry into God s attributes as 
follows : " It has thus been shown that every attribute 
predicated of God either denotes the quality of an action, 
or when this attribute is intended to convey some idea of 
the Divine Being Himself, and not of His actions the 
negation of the opposite." Thus " we use One in reference 
to God to express that there is nothing similar to Him, but 
we do not mean to say that an attribute Unity is added to 
His essence." Guide, I. Ivii. Iviii.) A similar tendency 
appeared also in Christian Scholasticism. This kind of 
" negative theology" seems to have been started first by 
Philo Judasus, of Alexandria, the founder of Neoplatonism. 

53, 13 /. Spinoza is referring to Thomas Aquinas. See 
20, 16 ff. 

53, i()ff. Compare 30, 31 ff. and the notes thereto. 

54, $ff. Cf. Cogitata Metaphysica, I. vi., where Spinoza 
says that "good" and "evil" only indicate a certain rela- 



tion of one thing to another. "A thing considered by 
itself is called neither good nor bad ; it is so only in relation 
to another thing, according as it helps it to obtain what it 
requires, or not." Spinoza, however, allows the application 
of " supremely good" to God on the ground that all things 
only exist through Him. 

54, 20 ff. Cf. Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione (Van 
Vloten and Land, ed. 1895, vol. i. pp. 28 ff. White and 
Stirling s translation, pp. 51 ff.). 

55, 15 /. Adopting the emendation suggested by Sigwart, 
we should read here : " Since, as attributes of a self-sub 
sisting being, they exist through themselves, they also 
become known through themselves " nam quia ut attributa 
entis per se existentis [per se~\ existunt, etiam per se concipi- 
untur. This makes the meaning clearer. 

55, 20 /. Although the term genus is here applied to attri 
bute (because the attribute here takes the place of the genus in 
the old rule of definition) it must not be forgotten that the 
attribute, according to Spinoza, is not generic, but singular. 

In the Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding 
Spinoza says that the definition of a created thing " should 
include the proximate cause," which he there identifies 
with the infinite modes Motion and Understanding, ac 
cording as the finite mode to be explained is a mode of 
Extension or of Thought (vol. i. p. 31 in ed. 1895). 

55, 26. The reference is to the Answers to the first, second, 
and third objections (appended to Descartes Meditations), 
where Descartes maintains, against Sassendi, that, although 
we cannot have a completely adequate knowledge of God, 
we can have a clear and distinct knowledge of some of His 


56. The distinction between Natura naturans and Natura 
naturata may be traced back to Aristotle s distinction between 


the Unmoved (Mover) and the Moved. In the writings 
of Augustine (354-430) the Aristotelian division is de 
veloped into a threefold distinction, namely, (i) a Creator 
who was not created, (2) the created which also creates, and 
(3) that which has been created but does not create. Scotus 
Erigena added a fourth distinction (so as to complete the 
dichotomous scheme), namely, (4) that which neither creates 
nor has been created (= nothing). Scotus Erigena (ninth 
century) already maintained that God and the Universe are 
identical ; Nature regarded as a creating totality being the 
same as God, while Nature regarded as a multiplicity of 
created things is what is called the world. This mode of 
thought was developed more fully by Averroes (1126-1198), 
the chief of the Arabian Aristotelians. 
56, 3-11. Cf. Ethics, I. xxix. Schol. 

56, 12 ff. Cf. Ethics, I.xxviii. Schol., where the division of 
Natura naturata into " general " and " particular " is replaced 
by that into things produced by God " immediately " and 
" mediately." 


57, 2-8. Probably for the reasons stated in lines 7, 8, Un 
derstanding and Motion are referred to in the Treatise on 
the Improvement of the Understanding as res fix& et ceternce. 
They are also commonly referred to as the u infinite modes." 
Cf. Letter LXIV. 

57, 18, 20. It seems strange that Motion should be de 
scribed as a " Son of God." But its correspondence or 
parallelism with Understanding, in Spinoza s scheme, com 
pelled him to predicate of Motion whatever he affirmed of 
the Understanding by way of epithets indicating position in 
the scheme. And to describe Understanding as the " Son of 
God " was, of course, Biblical i Cor. i. 24 : Christ the power 
of God, and the wisdom of God. It was, no doubt, with 
reference to this Scriptural passage that Spinoza wrote in 


Letter LXXIII. : " I do not think it at all necessary for one s 
salvation to know Christ according to the flesh; but as 
regards the eternal Son of God, that is, God s eternal 
wisdom, which has manifested itself in all things, especially 
in the human mind, and most of all in Christ Jesus, one 
must think otherwise. For without this no one can attain to 
a state of bliss, because it alone shows what is true or false, 
good or evil." 

57,2i. The expression " created . . . from all eternity" 
amounts to a denial of " creation" in its usual sense. 
Spinoza makes this quite clear in Cogitata Metaphysica, 
II. x. : " Neither was the Son of God created, He was eternal 
like the Father. When, therefore, we say that the Father 
had begotten the Son from eternity, we only mean that the 
Father has always shared His eternity with the Son." 

57, 23-27. It is not certain whether this note was written 
by Spinoza, to whom it refers in the third person as " the 
author " quite a unique form in Spinoza s writings. The 
information conveyed is accurate in so far as Spinoza did 
occupy himself with, and intended to write on, the most 
general problems of Physics. We gather this from Letters 
LIX., LX., LXXXIII. But the note seems quite irrelevant. 
Apparently it refers to some remark in the text which 
was subsequently struck out. 

58, 6. "Affects." The Dutch is Aandoeningen, which 
may be a too literal translation of Affectus. The usual ex 
pression is passien or tochten. 


59. Entia Rationis and Entia Realia. See note to 28, 6. 

59, ii ff. Spinoza s criticism of the terms "good" and 
" evil " is different in different parts of this Treatise. On 
p. 51 (lines 4-15) also in Cog. Metaph. (I. vi.), in the Tract, 
de Intel. Emend., and in the Ethics (Appendix to Part I.) the 


criticism turns on the implication of purpose. On the same 
page (lines i6ff.) also in Letter XIX. the criticism turns 
on the implied comparison of individual things with general 
ideas. In the passage now under consideration also in 
Ethics, IV. Ixv. the criticism turns on the relative or 
relational character of the terms " good " and " evil." 

59, 28 ff. The concluding paragraph of the chapter looks 
suspicious. The force of the additional argument is not 
obvious. Nor is there anything like its trend of ideas 
elsewhere in Spinoza. Sigwart is accordingly inclined to 
regard it as an interpolation by a disciple of Spinoza. 



63. Cf. Ethics, II., the opening sentences, and propositions 
x. and xi. 

63, 12 ff. This long addition was most probably not meant 
to be a " note " at all, and seems to be misplaced. See the 
comment on chapter i. The different parts of this long 
note may be compared with Spinoza s other utterances as 
follows: i. Cf. Ethics, II. x. ; 3. cf. Ethics, II. i. ; 4. cf. 
Ethics, I. xxx., II. iii. iv. ; 6-8. cf. Ethics, II. xiii. (to the end 
of Lemma i.) ; 9. cf. Ethics, II. xi. ; 10-12. cf. Ethics, II. 
Lemma iii.-vii. ; 13. cf. Ethics, II. xii. xiv. ; 14. cf. Ethics, 
IV. xxxix. 15. This part of the note is not really essential, 
and is in any case inaccurate. The contrast required is that 
between union with substances and union with modes ; that 
given is between union with thought and union with exten 
sion, both of which are substances in the looser sense that 
is, " attributes of substance." Probably this part of the note 
was not written by Spinoza in its present form. 

64, i. See pp. 21 ff. 


66, 1-5. According to the reservation here made, God or 
Substance is no part of the nature of man, because although 
man could not be, or be conceived without God, yet God 
could well be, and be conceived without man. Cf. Ethics, II., 
Definition ii., and prop. x. 


67. The opening words of this chapter, also the opening 
and concluding remarks of the Preface (p. 63, lines 6ff., and 
p. 66, lines $ff.\ lead one to expect an exposition of "the 
modes of which man consists." What is actually considered 
in this chapter is the three kinds of knowledge, while "the 
modes of which man consists " are discussed in the long 
note to the Preface (pp. 63 ff.) Freudenthal has therefore 
suggested the following explanation. Originally chapter i. 
did treat of " the modes of which man consists." But, dis 
satisfied with that first account, Spinoza wrote a new exposi 
tion to replace or to supplement it. Owing, however, to 
some misunderstanding of reference signs the copyist or 
translator treated the new exposition as a note to the Pre 
face, omitting at the same time the older account, which 
Spinoza had probably crossed through, or marked in some 
way as unsatisfactory. Note f seems to be a feeble attempt 
on the part of a reader or copyist to reconcile the opening 
words with the actual contents of the chapter. 

67, 7 /. The meaning is clear, namely, the modes to be 
considered first are the modes of thought, because these are 
known or experienced more immediately than the modes of 
extension (i.e., material objects, including human bodies), 
our knowledge of all modes of extension being, of course, 
included among the modes of cognition. The language, 
however, is rather obscure. What is "the consciousness of 
the knowledge of ourselves " ? It has been suggested by 
Freudenthal that the original Latin may have been, " Incipi- 
amus ab Us qui primi nobis cogniti sunt, scilicet a quibusdam 


ideis vel a cognitione nostri et delude agamus de rebus qua 
extra nos sunt," and that " cognitione nostri" was (like so 
many other expressions in the Treatise) translated twice over 
by " medegeweten " (translated " consciousness ") and " ken- 
nisse," and the whole misconstrued. In accordance with this 
plausible emendation we should read here : ". . . certain 
ideas or our knowledge, and then we shall treat of the things 
which are outside us." 

67, ioff. Here we have a threefold classification of the 
different kinds of knowledge, which is developed into a four 
fold scheme by subdividing the first kind of knowledge. In 
chapter ii. the distinction between the two subdivisions of 
the first kind of knowledge is passed over, while it is empha 
sised in chapter iv. (76, 17 ff.). In the Tractatus de Intel- 
lectus Emendatione (pp. 7 ff.) we find the fourfold scheme, 
while in the Ethics, II. xl. Schol. 2, Spinoza returns to the 
threefold scheme. The special stress laid on the fourfold 
scheme in the Tr. de Int. Em. (as Gebhardt has suggested) 
was probably due to the influence of Bacon. Indeed, the 
name of the second kind of knowledge (or of the second 
subdivision of what is here the first kind), namely, perceptio 
ab experientia vaga, occurs in Bacon s Novum Organum, I. c. 
In a note in the Tr. de Int. Em. (p. 9) Spinoza promises a 
fuller account of " experience," and of the methods of 
"recent empirical philosophers/ The reference is most 
probably to Bacon, from whose estimate of experience 
Spinoza differed, maintaining (as against Bacon) that " it is 
something altogether uncertain, ... by means of it the 
accidents only of natural things are apprehended, and they 
are never clearly understood without a previous knowledge 
of their essences " (ibid.). 

67, ii. The first kind of knowledge (in the threefold 
scheme) is here called "belief," but in chapters ii. and iv. 
(and elsewhere) " opinion." The Latin was probably the 
same in all cases, namely, opinio. In English also " belief 


is sometimes used for " opinion " ; e.g., " I am not sure, but 
that is my belief " (or " I believe so"). 

67, 13. The second kind of knowledge, here called "true 
belief" (on p. 69, line 14, simply "Belief"), is described on 
p. 74, line 19, as "a strong proof based on reasons." The 
distinction between " Opinion" and "True Belief" there 
fore recalls the Platonic (or even pre- Platonic) distinction 
between o ?a and 7rt(rr?//Aiy. 

"Belief" (or "true belief") seems a strange designation 
for reasoned or discursive knowledge. Spinoza himself 
substituted "Reason" afterwards (see, e.g., p. 99, line 16 
" True Belief or Reason "). Joel, however, has pointed out 
that Crescas employed the term " Belief " in the same sense. 
The expression " true belief " may have been suggested by 
the following passage from Maimonides Guide (I. 1.) : 
" Belief ... is the conviction that what is apprehended 
exists outside the mind exactly as it is conceived in the 
mind. If in addition we are convinced that the thing 
cannot be different in any way from what we believe it 
to be ... then the belief is true." 

67, 14. Sigwart has pointed out that the distinction 
between what is here called "clear and distinct concep 
tion" (or immediate intuition) and "true belief" (or 
discursive reasoning) is also found in Descartes (especially 
in the Regiila ad directionem ingenii, which, however, was 
only published in 1701, and was therefore unknown to 
Spinoza). But Descartes laid no such stress on the dis 
tinction, and also conceived it rather differently. Descartes 
" immediate intuition " was mathematical in character and 
referred to the apprehension of the truth of certain proposi 
tions, especially the cogito ergo sum ; Spinoza s "clear and 
distinct knowledge" is mystical in character, and referred 
to the apprehension of objects, especially of God. 

67, 15-17. Cf. Ethics, II. xli. 

67, 25 ff. See the first comment on this chapter. 



The three foot-notes on this page, and the first three foot 
notes on p. 68, are most probably marginal notes or sum 
maries made by some reader of the MS. from which A 
was copied. 


69, 22 ff. Cf. Ethics, IV. Appendix, iii.: "Our actions, that 
is to say, those desires which are determined by man s power 
or reason, are always good ; the others may be good or 
evil." Cf. also Ethics, III. iii. 

" Passion" (7rd6o$ = passio, affectus, or perturbatio) was used 
in the time of Spinoza, and even later, in a much wider sense 
than at present. It denoted not the violent emotions only, 
but all feelings, sentiments, and desires, as so many ways in 
which the mind "suffers" or "is affected" by external things. 

69,26ff. Cf. Ethics, II. Axiom iii.: "Such modes of 
thought as love, desire ... do not arise unless there is 
also, in the same individual, an idea of the thing loved, 
desired, &c. But the idea may be there even when no 
other mode of thought is present." 

The view that " knowledge is the proximate cause of all 
the passions" is opposed to the Cartesian view, according 
to which the passions " are produced, sustained, and 
strengthened by some movement of the animal spirits" 
(De Passionibus Animcz, I. 27). Spinoza assigns a purely 
mental origin to the passions, while Descartes ascribed 
them in large measure to physiological causes. 


70. In his treatment of the passions in this and the 
following chapters Spinoza follows closely Descartes order 
of exposition in hisDe Passionibus Anima, Parts II. and III. 
(This was already noticed by Boehmer when he published 
the Outline of the Short Treatise.) The following tables (see 
opposite) (taken, with slight changes, from Sigwart) will 
make this clear. 







69-148. Admiratio 

Ch. iii. Admiratio 


,, v. Amor 


,, vi. Odium (Aversio) 


,, vii. Cupiditas 


,, ,, Lcetitia 


,, ,, Tristitia 


149-152. Existimatio et De- 

,, viii. Existimatio et Contemptus 


153-156. Generositas et Humi 

,, ,, Generositas (?), Humilitas 


,, 157-161. Superbia et Humilitas 

,, ,, Superbia, Abjectio 


,, 161-164. Veneratio et Dedig- 


165. Spes et Metus 

Ix. S/tes ^ Metus 

1 66. Securitas et Desperatio 

,, ,, Securitas , Desperatio 

167-169. Zelotypia 

, , 170. Animi fluduatio 

,, ,, Animi fluctuatio 

171. Animositas et Audacia 

,, Intrepiditas et Audacia 

172. & mulatto 

,, ,, ALmulatio 

,, 174176. Pusillanimitas et Con- 

,, ,, Pusillanimitas, Zelotypia 


,, 177. Consdentice morsus 

,, x. Consdentice morsus 

178-181. Irrisio et Jocus 

,, xi. Irrisio et Jocus 

,, 182-184. Invidia 

,, ,, Invidia 

, , 186-189. Commiseratio 

xiv. Desiderium 

190. Acquiescentia in se 


,, 191. Pcenitentia 

,, ,, Pcenitentia 

,, 192. Favor 

,, xiii. Favor 

,, 193, 194. Gratitudo et Ingrati- 

,, ,, Gratitudo et Ingratitudo 


, , 195-203. Indignatio et Ira 

,, ,, 7ra, Indignatio 

,, 204206. Gloria et Pudor 

xii. Honor et Pudor 

, , 207. Impudentia 

,, ,, Impudentia 

209. Desidenum 


As regards details, there are numerous important dif 
ferences between Spinoza s and Descartes views on the 

lQ,8ff. Spinoza s account of " surprise" is original. 
Descartes simply described it as evoked by " things rare 
and extraordinary," but he did not explain it. 

70, 28 ff. The concluding part of the note seems to be 
directed against the view that Surprise is evoked chiefly 
by what is absolutely new. But the thought is expressed 

72, 20 ff. Spinoza s account of Hatred is very different 
from that of Descartes (op. cit. II. 79). 

73, 4 /. The account here given of Desire is reversed in 
Ethics, III. ix. SchoL, where it is maintained that we do not 
" desire anything because we think it is good, but, on the 
contrary, we judge a thing to be good because we ... 
desire it." 


74, 9/. In geometry, e.g., we reason that such and such a 
figure must have such and such properties ; but we do not 
prove thereby that such a figure actually exists. 

74, 19 ff. The meaning of " Belief " here (as already 
remarked) is peculiar. Equally peculiar is the use here 
made of the term " Knowledge " ( = spiritual intuition), and 
the way in which " Belief " and " Knowledge " are con 
trasted. Joel has drawn attention to parallel passages in 
the writings of Crescas, two of which may be given here. 
In words very like lines 19-21 Crescas says that " Belief is 
only the conviction resulting from the necessity of the case 
that the thing outside the soul is such as it is represented to 
be in the soul." In contrast to Belief, clear Knowledge is 
described by Spinoza (in lines 25, 30 /. and elsewhere) as 
an "immediate union " with and " intellectual enjoyment" 
of what is thus known. Crescas distinguishes between 


Belief and another form of knowledge as follows : " We 
accept some views from a feeling of (logical) necessity, 
others with a feeling of joy and gladness. Our Bliss 
depends, not on Belief, but on the joy which accompanies 
Knowledge. For . . . only joy can unite us with God" 
(The Light of the Lord, II. v. 5, quoted by Joel). 

75, 13 /. The assertion referred to is not found in the 
Treatise. Apparently some part containing such a state 
ment has been lost. 

75, 23 ff. Cf. the comments on I.x. (p. 201 /.). Cf. Ethics, 
IV., Preface, Def. i. and ii., and Appendix, v. 

76, 6/. Spinoza may be referring to the first chapter of 
his Cogitata Metaphysica, which is entitled De Ente Reali, 
Ficto, et Rationis, which was probably written already, 
though the whole work of which it forms a part was not 
completed and published till 1663. 

76, 26 ff. The new point of view is noteworthy. So far 
the passions were judged by the kind of knowledge which 
produced them ; we now observe a new criterion, namely, 
the character of the objects which are loved, &c. 

lit 3ff* This brief and somewhat peculiar treatment of 
" surprise " almost prepares one for its subsequent exclusion 
from the class of "affects "(or passions) in Ethics, 1 1 1. (Def. iv. 
of the Affects). It is possible, however, that originally this 
chapter was followed by one on " Surprise." 


78. Love, it should be noted, is here distinguished 
according to the character of its objects, not according to 
the kind of cognition from which it results, which was the 
mode of procedure suggested at the beginning of chapter iii. 
(p. 70). Descartes, it may be remarked, rather disparaged 
any such distinctions based on the character of the objects 
loved (De Pass. An. 11.82). 


78, 15 /. "God, or ... Truth." C/. p. 103, line 16 God 
is Truth, Truth is God. Because by "Truth" Spinoza 
means "the real essence of things as thought" (Martineau). 

78, I7/. According to this, love is always "intellectual." 
Descartes had distinguished between amor intellectualis and 
amor sensitivus, the latter of which was supposed to be due 
entirely to physiological causes. 

78, 20 ff. In the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, cap. xvi., 
Spinoza speaks of it as " a universal law of human nature " 
that we can only relinquish what we think good in one of 
the two ways stated here. 

79, 8ff. This explanation of love appears to be original ; 
it is not in Descartes. 

80,30-32. One would expect "... God alone is a 
substance . . ." The Dutch is weezen (essence), weezens 
(essences), wezen (entity). 

81, i$ff. On the "intellectual love of God" (Amor Dei 
intellectualis) see Ethics, V. xxxii./. 


82, 3/. This definition of Hatred is restricted on the next 
page (lines 8^.) so as to exclude the inanimate and the 
irresponsible from its objects. On p. 72 (lines 2O/.) we had 
yet another account, from a different point of view. In 
Ethics, III. (xiii. Schol., also Def. vii. at the end of the Book) 
Hatred is defined even more widely than here, namely, as 
"sorrow with the accompanying idea of its external cause" ; 
while in IV. xlv. Schol. it is restricted again so as to 
exclude all but human beings from its objects. 

83, i6ff. Here things which are the "accidental" causes 
of injury are excluded from among the objects of " aver 
sion"; in Ethics, III. Def. ix. of the Affects, aversion is 
defined as "sorrow with the accompanying idea of some 
object as the accidental cause of the sorrow." 

83, 20^. Here "sorrow" is described as an effect of 
hatred, &c. ; in the above definitions (from the Ethics) 


hatred and aversion are described as species of sorrow. 
We thus seem to have here an identification of causa 
proxima with genus proximum. Cf. p. 199. 

83, 21. Anger is accordingly denned in Ethics, III. 
Def. xxxvi., as "the desire by which we are impelled, 
through hatred, to injure those whom we hate." 

83, 24. Envy is defined in Ethics, III. Def. xxiii., as 
" hatred in so far as it affects a man so that he is sad at 
the good fortune of another person, and is glad when some 
evil befalls him." 

84, 5/. Cf. Ethics, IV. xviii. Schol. (" Homini igitur nihil 
homine utilius"), xxxv. Corol. i., and xxxvii. 

84, i6ff. Cf. Ethics. IV. xlv. 


85. "Joy and Sorrow" are used in a very wide sense, 
almost as the equivalents of " Pleasure and Pain." They 
play a more important role in the Ethics than they do here. 

85, 8. " The same causes" that is, the idea that a certain 
thing is good. 

85, 12 /. The definition here given of Sorrow is the same 
as that of Grief, on p. 99, lines 5 /. In the Ethics (III. 
Def. iii. of the Affects) Sorrow (Tristitia) is defined as " man s 
transition from greater to lesser perfection." Descartes 
had defined it as the effect of a present evil. 

85, 17 ff. Cf. Ethics, IV. xli., where Spinoza says that 
Joy is in itself good, and Sorrow evil, because Joy increases 
the body s power of action, while Sorrow diminishes it. 

86, 2 /. Cf. Tract, de Int. Em. (p. 5), where Spinoza says 
that strife, hatred, sorrow, jealousy, and other evil passions 
arise from the love of the transient only, " but love for an 
object eternal and infinite feeds the mind with unmixed joy." 
Cf. Ethics, V. xx. 

86, 7. Reminiscent of Psalm xvi. n : 

In thy presence is fulness of joy, 

In thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. 



87,7-9. In the Ethics (III. Def. Aff. xxi. xxii.) Existi- 
matio and Despectus are conceived so as to contain an 
element of bias. Existimatio (over-esteem) " consists in think 
ing too highly of some one in consequence of our love for 
him ; Despectus " consists in thinking too little of some one 
in consequence of our hatred against him." 

87, 10. " Self-respect." The Dutch is Edelmoedigheid, 
which generally means "noble bearing" or " generosity." 
Generositas, however, is defined in Ethics, III. lix. Schol., as 
" the desire by which from the dictates of reason alone each 
person endeavours to help other people and to join them to 
himself in friendship." This is very unlike what is described 

87, 18. "Conceit" (Verwaantheid) = Superbia (Ethics, III. 
Aff. Def. xxviii.), " undue self-esteem prompted by self- 

87, 20. " Culpable humility " (strafbare nedrigheid) = 
? Abjectio, which is defined in Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xxix., as 
" thinking too little of oneself, through sorrow." 

88, 6 ff. In the Ethics (IV. liii.) Spinoza says that 
" Humility is not a virtue," because the rational man should 
think of what he can do, not of what he cannot do. More 
over, Humility is a species of sorrow, and sorrow is always 
bad. Apparently the good side of " true humility " has 
been joined to " self-respect " to constitute acquiescentia in 
se ipso, the contentment resulting from a just estimate of 
one s powers. 

88, 32. Scepticism had a certain vogue in the time of 
Spinoza, and rationalist philosophies were often confounded 
with it. Hence philosophers like Bacon, Descartes, and 
Spinoza felt it necessary to break a lance with Scepticism so 
as to make it clear that they were no Sceptics. In the Tract, 
delnt. Em. (p. 14) Spinoza remarks of the Sceptics : "They 


say that they know nothing ; and they say that even this, 
namely, that they know nothing, they also do not know ; 
nor can they say even that much absolutely : for they are 
afraid to admit that they exist, seeing that they know 
nothing ; they should really be dumb, lest perchance they 
suggest something that may savour of truth. . . . They 
must consequently be regarded as automata, altogether 
devoid of mind." Further on (p. 24) he dismisses such 
Scepticism as " belonging to an inquiry on obstinacy " rather 
than to an inquiry on Method. 

89. 10 /. Namely, that God is the highest and worthiest 
object of our esteem, as of our love (p. 81, line 13 ff.). 


90, 12 ff. The way in which Spinoza here divides the 
passions appears to be original. 

90, 27. In Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xii., Hope is defined as 
ft an inconstant joy arising from the idea of something future 
or past about the issue of which we have some doubt." Cf. 
also Ethics, III. xviii. Schol. 2. 

91, 2. Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xiii. : " Fear [metus, nottimor] is 
a wavering sorrow arising from the idea of something future 
or past about the issue of which we have some doubt." Cf. 
III. xviii. Schol. 2. 

91, 3 ff. Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xiv. : "Confidence is joy 
arising from the idea of something future or past concern 
ing which all cause for doubt has been removed." 

91, 8/. Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xv. : " Despair is sorrow 
arising from the idea of something future or past concerning 
which all cause for doubt has been removed." 

91, 23 ff. "Vacillation of mind " is treated from a different 
point of view in the Ethics (III. xvii. Schol., xxxi.), where 
it is described as the result of loving and hating the same 
thing at once, or (Aff. Def. xlii.) from a choice of evils. 


91, 27 ff. Ethics, III. li. Schol. : " I will call that man brave 
(intrepidum) who despises an evil which I usually fear." 
Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xl. : " Boldness (Audacia) is a desire 
by which one is incited to do something perilous which his 
fellows fear to attempt." The Dutch terms are moed 
(line 27), kloekmoedigheid (line 28), and dapper heid (line 29). 

91, 30 ff. Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xxxiii.: " Emulation consists 
in feeling a desire for something because we imagine that 
others have the same desire." 

91,33 ff. Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xli. : " Pusillanimity [or 
Cowardice] is attributed to one whose desire [to do some 
thing] is checked by the fear (timor) of a danger which his 
fellows are not afraid to face." 

92, i. Ethics, III. li. Schol. ; " The man who fears an evil 
which I usually despise will appear timid " (timidus). 

92, 2. "Jalousie" is given in the MSS. as the (French) 
equivalent for "Belgzucht"\ apparently the translator was 
not sure how to translate zelotypia. According to Ethics, III. 
xxxv. Schol., Jealousy is "a vacillation of mind arising from 
a feeling of both love and hatred [for a certain object], 
accompanied by the idea of another person who is hated 
[because he has supplanted us]." 

92, 8ff. On Hope, Fear, and their effects, see Ethics, IV. 
xlvii. Ixiii. ; on Confidence and Despair, Ethics, III. Aff. 
Def. xv. 

93, 10. " Boldness." The Dutch is " Stoutheid." 


94, 5 ff. Remorse (Knaging) is conceived somewhat dif 
ferently in the Ethics (III. Aff. Def. xvii.), where it (Con- 
scientice morsus) is defined as " sorrow accompanied by the 
idea of something past which happened unexpectedly " 
(? contrary to expectations). This is Disappointment rather 
than Remorse. Verrassing (rashness, line 5) usually means 


94, 7 /. Repentance (Berouw). In Ethics, III. Aff. Def. 
xxvii., Pcenitentia is defined as " sorrow accompanied by the 
idea of something done, which we believe that we did by a 
free decision of the mind." 

94, i&ff. The definitions of "Remorse" and " Repent 
ance " given here (in the Short Treatise) are the same as 
those given by Descartes (De Pass. An. III. 177, 191). But 
Spinoza s estimate of them is altogether opposed to that of 
Descartes, who considers remorse " useful " as tending to 
make people more cautious in future, and repentance as 
"most useful" because leading to an improvement in 
conduct. In Ethics, IV. liv. Schol., Spinoza makes a note 
worthy concession. " If men impotent in mind . . . were 
ashamed of nothing, and feared nothing, how could they be 
united or restrained ? The mob inspires fear when it feels 
none. No wonder, therefore, that the Prophets, who were 
concerned about the welfare, not of the few, but of the com 
munity, commended Humility, Repentance, and Reverence 
so greatly. And indeed those who are subject to these 
feelings can be led much more easily than others, so as to 
live eventually by the guidance of Reason, that is, to be free, 
and live the life of the blessed." 


95. Cf. Ethics, III. Hi. Schol. : "Derision (Irrisio) springs 
from our contempt for a thing which we hate or fear, Scorn 
(Dedignatio), from the contempt of folly." 

95, 5 ff. Cf. Ethics, IV. 1. Schol. : " He who knows rightly 
that all things follow from the necessity of the divine nature, 
and come to pass according to the eternal laws and rules 
of Nature, will forsooth find nothing deserving of Hatred, 
Laughter, or Contempt." (Cf. George Eliot: "To under 
stand everything would be to pardon everything.") 

95, 15. This was probably directed against the view of 


Descartes (De Pass. An. III. 180) that a judicious use of 
derision might diminish vice by making it appear ridiculous. 

95, 18 /. Cf. Ethics, IV. liii. Schol. : " I see a great difference 
between Derision (which ... I stated to be bad) and 
laughter. For laughter, and jesting (jocus) likewise, is sheer 
Joy ; and is therefore good in itself, provided it be not 
excessive. Nothing, surely, but a gloomy and sad super 
stition forbids enjoyment." 

95, 22. " Spirits." The allusion is to the spiritus animates, 
the vital or animal spirits. The doctrine of spiritus animates 
is found already in the writings of the ancient Stoics and 
the medieval Scholastics, but was developed more fully by 
Descartes. Harvey s discovery of the circulation of the 
blood encouraged Descartes in the working out of his con 
ception of the automatic character of animal organisms. 
His dualism that is, his view that mind and body were 
entirely different substances which could not directly in 
fluence each other made it necessary for him to explain 
all physiological processes by the principles of mechanics. 
The human body was accordingly regarded by him as a 
cleverly contrived machine, all the parts of which (heart, 
lungs, brain, nerves, muscles, &c.) co-operated, or acted on 
each other, through the mediation of the blood which circu 
lated all over the body. Now in passing through the heart 
the blood (it was said) becomes heated, its finest particles 
thereupon separate from the coarser ones, and rise to the 
brain, while the rest of the blood, which is too thick for the 
arteries leading to the brain, circulates through the other 
parts of the body. It was this very fine part of the blood, 
which alone had access to the brain, that Descartes called 
"spirits" (spiritus or esprits animaux = spiritus animates). 
Moreover, he regarded the " pineal gland " in the brain to 
be the " seat" of the Soul, and (deviating from the require 
ments of his dualistic philosophy^ he maintained that the 
soul could influence the body, not indeed by setting in 


motion, but by directing the motion of the " vital spirits," in 
the same way, say, as a horseman directs the movements of 
his horse, which is not thereby carried by him, but actually 
carries him.* Descartes endeavoured to minimise this in 
fringement against his dualism by attenuating the material 
aspect of his " spirits " as much as possible. In the Discourse 
on Method, v., he says that " the animal spirits are like a very 
subtle wind, or rather a very pure and vivid flame." They 
play a very important role in his explanation of the passions. 
Spinoza was opposed to this causal mingling of the mental 
with the physical, which he criticised severely in his Ethics 
(Preface to Part V.). And this same difference of attitude 
constitutes a fundamental difference between Spinoza s and 
Descartes account of the " passions." 

95, 22 /. Because such laughter is only a physiological 
process, not a mental process or feeling. 

95,25. "Indignation is hatred towards those who have 
injured others " (Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xx.), and " is necessarily 
evil" (IV. li. SchoL). 


96. " Glory." The Dutch Eere generally means " honour," 
and this will do if understood in the sense of "feeling 
honoured " ; but " honour " is too ambiguous to stand alone. 
The definition given of it here agrees with that of Gloria in 
Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xxx., and although " Glory " is not a very 
satisfactory rendering, it has the merit of suggesting the 
Latin original. 

96, 20 ff. Spinoza opposes the view of Descartes (De Pass. 
An. III. 206) that Glory and Shame tend to encourage virtue, 
the one through fear, the other through hope. In the Ethics 
(IV. Iviii.) Spinoza allows that " Glory [as distinguished from 

* This view has been ascribed by L. Robinson (Archiv f. Gesch. d. Phil. 
xix.), not to Descartes, but to the Cartesian Regius. The illustration is, 
of course, inaccurate, if pressed closely. 


"vainglory"] is not opposed to reason, and may even spring 
from it " ; and (IV. Appendix, xxiii.) that " Shame also helps 
towards concord, though only as regards such things as 
cannot be concealed." 

97, ii ff. When Descartes refers to the good side of Glory 
and Shame he means " good for the person who has these 
feelings." Spinoza here makes a very different suggestion, 
namely, how such a person may thus be enabled to do 
good to others, who might otherwise not come under his 

It is interesting to compare Spinoza s "philosophy of 
clothes" with what his biographers relate of him. Lucas 
(the earliest biographer of Spinoza) says that Spinoza him 
self was always careful to be dressed neatly when he went 
out, and strongly condemned deliberate negligence, saying, 
" It is not a dirty and negligent appearance that makes one 
learned." Colerus, on the other hand, relates that Spinoza 
was dressed no better than one of the meanest citizens ; that 
a certain eminent Councillor of State while visiting Spinoza 
one day found him in a slovenly morning-gown, and when 
blamed for it Spinoza replied that " a man is not made better 
by having a finer gown," and that " it is unreasonable to 
wrap up things of little or no value in a precious cover " 
(see Pollock s Spinoza, 2nd ed. p. 394). The two accounts 
are not necessarily incompatible. 


98. Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xix. : "Favour is love towards 
one who has done good to another"; xxxiv. : "Gratitude 
(Gratia or Gratitudo) is the desire or endeavour of love with 
which we try to do good to one who from a similar feeling 
of love has conferred some benefit on us." 

Spinoza here opposes the view of Descartes, who (De Pass. 
An. III. 194) considered gratitude "always virtuous as one 


of the chief bonds of human society." In the Ethics (IV. li.) 
Spinoza says that " Favour is not opposed to reason, but 
may agree with it, and arise from it" ; and (IV. Ixxi.) that 
" only those who are free are most grateful to one another." 


99. Ethics, III. Aff. Def. xxxii. : " Grief (Desiderium) is the 
desire or longing to possess something, which [desire] is 
fostered by the memory of the thing, and at the same time 
restrained by the memory of other things which exclude the 
existence of the thing longed for." 

99, 15 ff. This was most probably meant to be a new 
chapter, dealing with the feelings generally from Spinoza s 
own peculiar point of view. 

99, 16. Note the equivalence of "True Belief" and 
" Reason." Cf. p. 74, note. 

99, i8/. Spinoza here repeats his protest against the Car 
tesian view that the passions are determined by the move 
ments of the " vital spirits." Cf. p. 69, line 26 /. 

99, 20 ff. This is also in opposition to Descartes, who 
denied that the soul had any direct control over the passions 
(De Pass. An. I. 45). Cf. Ethics, V. xx. Schol. : " The power 
of the mind is determined solely by knowledge, while its 
impotence or passion is measured solely by the privation 
of knowledge " ; and the knowledge of God (Spinoza adds) 
enables us to reduce the passions to a minimum, if not to 
destroy them. 

100, 5/. According to Descartes (ibid. III. 211), "all pas 
sions are by nature good"; it is only their abuse that is 

100, ii ff. Cf. Tract, de Intel Emend, (p. 5) : " All happiness 
or unhappiness depends on this alone, namely, on the kind 
of object to which we are attached by love. For on account 
of that which is not loved no strife will ever arise, there will 


be no sorrow if it perishes, no jealousy if it is possessed by 
another, no fear, no hatred, and, in a word, no mental com 
motion ; all which arise, indeed, when we love what is 
perishable. . . . But love for an object eternal and infinite 
feeds the mind with unmixed joy." 

100, 29 ff. Cf. Ethics, V. xx. Schol. : " Love towards an 
object immutable and eternal " " can always become greater 
and greater, and occupy the greatest part of the mind, and 
affect it through and through." 


102, 6 ff. Truth and Falsity are similarly defined in Cog. 
Metaph. I. vi., and in Ethics, I. Ax. 6. In the Tract, de Intel. 
Emend, (p. 1 1 /.), however, a different view of Truth appears, 
in which no reference is made to "agreement " or " corre 
spondence " with things. To have a true idea is to have 
objective the essentia formalis of the thing thought about 
(the ideatum). This view is developed also in Ethics, II. 
xxxiv., &c., where "true" ideas are identified with "ade 
quate " ideas, " false " ideas with " inadequate " ones. Cf. 
Ethics, II. xliii. 

102, 10 ff. Cf. Descartes, Med. III. (Veitch, p. 118) : "With 
respect to ideas, if these are considered only in themselves, 
and are not referred to any object beyond them, they cannot, 
properly speaking, be false ; for, whether I imagine a goat 
or a chimera, it is not less true that I imagine the one than 
the other." 

102, 15. Descartes (Princ. Phil. I. Ix.-lxii. Veitch, pp. 
219 ff.) speaks of three kinds of Distinctions, namely, real, 
modal, and logical. A real distinction is that between two 
substances ; a modal distinction is " that between the mode 
properly so called and the substance of which it is a mode, 
or that between two modes of the same substance"; while 
a logical distinction, or a distinction of reason f "is that 


between a substance and some one of its attributes ... or 
between two such attributes of a common substance, the 
one of which we essay to think without the other " " for 
example, duration is distinct from substance only in thought 
(ratione), because a substance which ceases to endure ceases 
also to exist." Similarly Spinoza see p. 237. 

102, 20 /. This question, it may be noted at once, is not 
answered in this chapter, but in the next (p. no, lines 1-5). 
Most probably the passage containing the answer was 
intended to come at the end of this chapter. 

102, 23 /. Cf. Ethics, II. xliii. Schol. : " Just as light reveals 
both itself and the darkness, so truth is the standard of itself 
and of the false " (sicut lux seipsam et tenebras manifestat, sic 
veritas norma sui et falsi est). Compare also Tr. de Intel. 
Em. (p. n) : "To be sure of a truth no sign is necessary, 
only just the possession of the true idea : for, as we have 
shown, in order that I may know, it is not necessary for me 
to know that I know." 

103, 12 ff. The same thought recurs in the Tr. de Intel. 
Em. (p. 15), where it is even more evident that Spinoza is 
thinking of Descartes, who (Med. III. Veitch, p. 99) made 
the occurrence of dreams a ground for his preliminary 

103, 16. See the note to 78, 15 (p. 210). 

103, 18-21. The falsity of an idea, according to Spinoza, is 
not due to any positive element, but to the " inadequacy " 
or fragmentariness of the idea; the true or "adequate" 
idea is therefore richer, or has more essence, than the false 

103, 23. The word verstaan, or the verb intettigere, is 
active, not passive. 

103, 24. The expression " passivity " must not be taken too 
literally here. The explanation which follows immediately 
seems to suggest that what Spinoza meant was simply that 
the sequence of our ideas is not due to any arbitrary volition 


on our part, but is necessary. It is true that the sentence 
beginning line 26 appears to suggest a kind of sensationalist 
view, namely, that the things outside us produce the ideas in 
us ; and there are similar passages in chapters xvi. and xix. 
(see p. 109, lines 2 ff., and p. 123, lines 29 /.). On the other 
hand, the explanation of error in chapter xvi. (p. 1 10, lines i ff.) 
shows a very different view of human knowledge, a view 
more like that explained in the Ethics, where he insists on the 
spontaneity of ideation, in opposition to the view that ideas 
are " dumb pictures on a tablet " (II. xlix. Schol.). Possibly 
Spinoza may have been thinking of the immanent necessity 
in the sequence of our ideas or judgments. And in the 
case of immanent causality the usual distinction between 
activity and passivity disappears. See what he actually says 
on p. 30, lines 8-14. It is, of course, quite easy to suppose 
that Spinoza s theory of knowledge went through a com 
plete change that he began by conceiving knowledge to 
be merely passive, and ended by regarding it as eminently 
active. But the easier interpretation is not always the more 
accurate one. What Spinoza really intended to oppose was, 
I think, the Cartesian conception of judgment as an arbi 
trary act of volition (Med. IV.). On p. 109, lines 6 ff., Spinoza 
seems to be dealing expressly with this view of Descartes. 
(For a discussion of this problem see Trendelenburg, 
Freudenthal s Spinozastudien, and Gebhardt.) 

104, i ff. The sentence in brackets presents some difficulty. 
The Dutch is " (ah door weinige of minder toevoeginge in 
[B : toevoegingen van dien~\ t zelve gewaar wordende)." The 
word "toevoeginge" seems hardly appropriate in any case. 
Sigwart translates it " Affectionen," Schaarschmidt " An- 
regungen." This is quite plausible, inasmuch as "toevoe- 
gen " is used for " addressing some one," and it may 
accordingly be rendered by "stimuli." This translation, 
however, makes the word in in A wrong, while the sentence 
in brackets is a mere repetition of what precedes. But as 


" toevoegen " literally means " to add," it seems quite pos 
sible that " toevoeginge " may have been a rather clumsy 
translation of attributa or accidentia in the wider sense of 
" qualities." If so, the passage can be rendered thus : "(as 
becoming aware of it only through a few or the less im 
portant of the attributes in it [or "of its attributes"])." 
Dr. W. Meyer has paraphrased this passage in the same 
way, taking toevoeging as = toeeigening, or attribute. 


105. According to Freudenthal this chapter is misplaced. 
The substance of one part of it namely, p. 109, line 21, to 
p. 1 10, line 8 should have been given at the end of chapter xv., 
ascontainingthe answer to thequestion raised on p. 102, lines 
20 /. But the rest of the present chapter, and also chapters 
xvii. and xviii., should follow chapter xx. For chapter xix. 
deals with the question " wherein the well-being of a perfect 
man consists," and chapter xvi. (p. 105, line 4) assumes that 
the question has already been dealt with. Per contra, chapter 
xix. seems to assume an immediately preceding discussion 
on the advantages of " true belief," and such a discussion is 
found in chapter xv. As chapters xix. and xx. obviously go 
together, they should both follow chapter xv. ; and be 
followed by chapters xvi.-xviii. So rearranged, the con 
nection of ideas would be as follows : the discussion of 
truth and falsity (or, briefly, of knowledge) serves as an 
introduction to chapters xix. and xx., where it is shown that 
knowledge is the cause of the passions, but that these may 
be mastered by a knowledge of God. This raises the ques 
tion discussed in chapters xvi. and xvii., namely, whether such 
a self-emancipation from the passions is the effect of volun 
tary effort, or the necessary result of inevitable causes. And 
chapter xviii. (which, according to Freudenthal, originally 
concluded the whole Treatise)rounds off the whole discussion 


with a consideration of the moral value of the highest 

105, 10. Desire : see p. 73, lines 4 ff. In Ethics, III. ix. 
Schol., Desire is defined as "appetitus cum ejusdem con- 
scientia," and appetitus as " ipsa hominis essentia, e% cujus 
natura ea, qucz ipsius conservationi inserviunt, necessario 
sequuntur" ; in short (III. Aff. Def. i.), Desire denotes "all 
the strivings, impulses, appetites, and volitions of man." 

107, iff. Cf. Ethics, II. xlviii. and xlix. 

108, i. "Idea" that is, a general idea or abstraction 
derived from particular acts of volition. 

108, 7. " This " = " that it is unnecessary to ask whether 
the will is free." The opening of this paragraph in A is 
somewhat obscure. B is much clearer (see lines 32 ff.). 

108, i6ff. This was a common doctrine among medieval 
philosophers ; it is found in the writings of Thomas Aquinas, 
Peter Lombard, and others. Scaliger, e.g., says : " Conservatio 
est qucedam veluti perpetua generatio" (Exerc. 31, quoted by 
Freudenthal in Sp. u. d. Schol.). The same thought is also 
found in Crescas. Cf. Descartes, Med. III. 

109, 6 ff. Spinoza is probably referring here to the 
Cartesian view that to have an idea is one thing, to make 
an affirmation or denial about it is another and depends on 
our free will. Spinoza identifies volition with affirmation 
and denial, but denies that it is free. The ideas necessitate 
certain affirmations or denials. Thinking is thus identified 
with judging. Cf. Ethics, II. xlix. Schol. 

109, 16. " Feel "= ? sentimus, apprehend. 
109, 21 ff. See note to p. 102, line 20 (p. 221). 


^. Spinoza s reference to the Aristotelian distinc 
tion between /SoJArjo-/? (voluntas), and tTriOvjULia (voluptas) 


is most probably based on Scholastic accounts. In DC 
Anima, III. ix., Aristotle distinguishes within the conative 
faculty (TO 6/o/cn/coV= Spinoza s cupiditas, line 12) rational 
desire ({3ov\r)cri$) from irrational desire (tTriOvjuLia), and 
this distinction recurs also in III. x. and in the Rhetoric, 
I. x. 

112, 19 ff. Spinoza s attitude towards the Aristotelian view 
is not expressed clearly. Since Spinoza identifies volition 
with affirmation and negation and Aristotle with desire, 
they really mean different things, although they use the 
same term (will). This seems to be the meaning of the 
sentence in question. 


115, 10 ff. Cf. Ethics, II. xlix. Schol. 
Trendelenburg has pointed out that in Plato s Euthyphron 

man is similarly described as the slave of God. There is a 
vast difference, however. In Plato s dialogue it is only 
" the ministration called holiness " (that is, sacrificing and 
praying to the Gods, as distinguished from Justice, which is 
service to men) that is described as " of the same nature as 
that which slaves render to their master." Spinoza is not 
thinking at all of such restricted " divine service," but of the 
whole life and conduct of man. 

116, 26 ff. Probably an allusion to i John, iv. 13 : " Hereby 
know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath 
given us of His spirit." This verse was subsequently put 
by Spinoza on the title-page of his Tractatus Theologico- 

117, i ff- Cf. Burgersdijck (Inst. Log. cap. xvii.) : " Instru- 
mentarum essentia posita est in aptitudine ad usum. . . . 
Sic securis eatenus securis est, quatenus materice qualitate et 
forma apta est adsecandum." 


117, 12 ff. Cf. Browning s Last Ride Together; or Tenny 
son s Wages: 

" Glory of Virtue, to fight, to struggle, to right the wrong- 
Nay, but she aimed not at glory, no lover of glory 

Give her the glory of going on, and still to be. 

She desires no isles of the blest, no quiet seats of the 

To rest in a golden grove, or to bask in a summer 

sky : 
Give her the wages of going on, and not to die." 


118. According to Freudenthal this chapter, and the 
next, should have been placed immediately after chapter xv. 
See the first note to chapter xvi. (p. 223). 

118, 26 /. Allusion to Romans iii. 20^. : " By the works 
of the law shall no man be justified in His sight : for through 
the law cometh the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the 
law a righteousness of God hath been manifested . . . even the 
righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all 
them that believe; . . . being justified freely by His grace 
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." See Intro 
duction, p. cxxvi. 

118, 30 /. " Know and enjoy." Probably a reminiscence 
of Biblical language, as in Psalm xxxiv. 8 : "0 taste and see 
that the Lord is good." 

119, 18$. It was on account of Descartes initial scep 
ticism that Spinoza felt it necessary to prove the existence of 
material bodies. " A body " = Extension, or Matter. 

119, 27^. This paragraph appears, at first sight, to be 
directed against Occasionalism the view, namely, that our 
perception of a body is produced in our mind by the direct 


action of God on the " occasion " of the presence of such a 
body. But there is no other evidence of Spinoza s acquaint 
ance with Occasionalism. It maybe that Spinoza was only 
thinking of the " omnipotent demon " who, as Descartes 
suggested (Med. I)., might be deluding us with fancies of 
apparently material bodies. The context, dealing as it 
does with Descartes scepticism, seems to me to confirm 

119, 34. The reference to the " first chapter " seems to be in 
accurate. The passage to which reference is made is supposed 
to show that there is nothing outside God (and that, therefore, 
no such demon can exist). This is done, not in the first 
chapter, but in the first Dialogue (also in chapter ii. Book I.). 

120, i ff. In various parts of the Short Treatise, but espe 
cially in this chapter and the next, Spinoza deals with the 
relation between mind and body. Only indirectly, how 
ever, or incidentally for his main inquiry is ethical, not 
psychological, in character. It is regrettable that he did 
not discuss the problem for its own sake, because in that 
case he would have expressed his views more clearly and 
consistently than he has done in these incidental discussions 
which originated on different occasions, and had different 
aims. As it is, we seem to have here several different views 
on the relation between mind and body. And as we have 
no independent knowledge of the chronological orders, or 
of the geological formation (so to say) of the parts of the 
Treatise, it is impossible to speak with absolute confidence 
of the actual order or sequence among these views. It 
seems reasonable, however, to suppose that their logical 
order is also more or less representative of their chrono 
logical sequence. His final view, we take it, was what has 
since become familiar as that of psycho-physical parallelism. 
This view is the one adopted in the Ethics, though with 
occasional lapses. The other views may be regarded as 
leading up to this one. 


Now, in the first place, do body and mind interact ? In 
some passages the view expressed or implied is that they do. 
Body acts on mind (p. 103, lines 26 ff. ; 112, 26 ; 119, 7 ff. ; 
122, 26 ff. ; 129, I5/., &c.); and mind acts on body, or, at 
all events, the soul can move its own body (129, 6 /.), and 
through it also other bodies (130, 12 ff.). In other passages, 
however, this view, apparently, of direct interaction is con 
siderably modified, if not denied. The mind, we are told, 
cannot affect even its own body, except through the media 
tion of the " vital spirits," whose movements it cannot ini 
tiate or terminate, but only control or direct (121, 2 ff., 28 ff. ; 
127, 10 ff.) ; nor can body act directly on mind without 
the intervention of " vital spirits" (122, 4 #.) And this, 
of course, is the Cartesian view (see note to 95, 22 p. 216). 

Spinoza, however, was not satisfied with this solution. 
After all, the " vital spirits " were physical, and one might 
just as well suppose that mind can interact with body as with 
them. We find, accordingly, a new solution of the problem. 
Mind and body can affect each other, because they are mere 
modes of one and the same whole, or substance (127, 34^. ; 
121, 9 ff.). This answer may have suggested yet another 
point of view from which the problem itself disappeared. 

So far the reality of interaction of some sort was assumed, 
the problem being to explain it. And Spinoza tried to do 
so, first by invoking " spirits," and then by his conception 
of a " whole," in which mind and body were most intimately 
united. The ultimate " whole," according to Spinoza, is 
Substance, of which Extension and Thought are co-attri 
butes. These stand in no causal relationship to each other; 
they are, so to say, collateral expressions of the same reality; 
the one does not cause the other, but simply is the other 
that is, another or parallel aspect of the same reality. 
Similarly, mind and body are really one whole, merely a 
double-faced mode of substance ; mind does not affect 
body, nor body mind ; the one simply is the other that is, 


a parallel aspect of the same reality. So there is really 
no interaction and no problem. This view is expressed, 
though not adequately, in the passage now under con 
sideration (pp. 120, 121 ; cf. Ethics, II. vii. and III. ii.). 

The theory of psycho-physical parallelism, first enunciated 
by Spinoza, did not receive the attention which it merited 
until some two centuries afterwards, but has held its ground 
since then as the favourite working-hypothesis among 
psychologists. (For a fuller account see Freudenthal, 
Ueber die Entwicklung der Lehre vom psychophysischen Paral- 
lelismus bei Spinoza.) 

120, 4. " Power "cf. the note to 34, 16 (p. 187). 

120, 12 ff. Cf. Ethics, II. xiii. 

120, 21 ff. Cf. Ethics, II. Lemma iii., and III. ii. 

120, 22. "Rest" (fipwia) was regarded by Aristotle (De 
Ccelo, II.), not as the mere absence of motion, but as its 
positive contrary; that is to say (in more modern language), 
not as the mere absence of energy of motion, but as the 
presence of energy of position. This positive conception 
of "rest" is also found in Descartes Principia, II.; in 
Med.j III., however, Descartes speaks as though " rest " were 
the mere absence of motion, as darkness is of light. Note t 
(p. 120) may have been directed against this suggestion. 

121, 12 ff. Cf. p. 69, lines 26$., and p. 158, lines 2 ff. 
121, 23. See p. 78, lines 20 ff. 

124,3. " Object " = object of thought. The sentence is 
awkwardly expressed, but the meaning is clear. 


126, 18. "Their form . . ." The Dutch is haar, which 
generally means " their," but is used by Spinoza also for 
the singular. If translated by " its," the reference would 
be to the body. But cf. p. 127, line 5. 

127, 21 ff. Similarly Descartes, Princ. Phil. IV. cxc. 


127, 34^. This long note, as Sigwart has shown, contains 
various suggestions which Spinoza subsequently elaborated 
in the Ethics (II. xi.-xxxii.). 

128, 6-9. " We have also said . . ." Not in this Treatise 
as we now have it. The part referred to must have been 

128, 12-17. " P a S e " The numbers of the pages 
referred to are not given in the MS. Nor is it easy 
to find suitable passages for most of them. The third 
proposition is not proved in this Treatise at all. The 
references are probably either to lost parts, or to parts 
which Spinoza intended to write, but did not. 

128, 25 /. "Has an idea" that is, an adequate idea, as 
explained immediately afterwards. 

129, 9 /. " Paul " and " Peter " should probably change 

129, 20 ff. This sentence seems irrelevant. Perhaps the 
difference in our ideas of the same object was intended 
as a proof of their imperfection, of which the preceding 
sentence speaks. 

129, 33. The words idea reflexiva seem to be quite irre 
levant here, and the version which they suggested to 
Monnikhoff is wrong. Sigwart has suggested that the error 
may be due to the fact that on p. 162, lines I3/., Spinoza 
passes at once from the explanation of " feeling " to the idea 
reflexiva (self-consciousness), and this transition may have 
been misunderstood by the copyist, or by a reader. 

130, 3. "Soul" = the soul of Nature* .*., the infinite 
Idea. See p. 134. 


131, According to Freudenthal, this and the following 
five chapters are later additions to the Short Treatise, which 
originally concluded with what is now chapter xviii. See 
the first note to chapter xvi. (p. 223). The addition of these 


last six chaplers ; Freudenthal thinks, was necessitated by 
Spinoza s (later) distinction between Reason and Under 
standing (or Intuition, which is the highest kind of 

The views found in the present chapter are developed 
much more fully in Ethics, IV. ix.-xvii. 

131, 4^. In Ethics, IV.xvii. SchoL, Spinoza quotes Ovid s 
well-known utterance (Metam. vii. 20), 

Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor, 

and takes Ecclesiastes, i. 18 (" He that increaseth knowledge 
increaseth sorrow ") to refer to such cases. 

131, 31. What does " for, &c.," refer to ? Possibly to the 
next sentence in the text (p. 132, lines 2 ff.). So, at all 
events, Monnikhoff seems to have understood it, for instead 
of " See pages . . .," B has " See above." But the passages 
referred to by A are not irrelevant to the note as a whole, 
and were most probably not meant to refer only to the 
last sentence of the note. 


133. The " fourth kind of knowledge "see pp. 67-69, and 
the notes on them. Sigvvart cites several passages from 
Heereboord s Logic which appear at first to express a view 
very like Spinoza s on knowledge as a bond of union between 
man and God. There is, however, a fundamental diffe 
rence between the two views. The knowledge to which 
Heereboord refers is discursive knowledge, or what Spinoza 
calls " Reason," while Spinoza refers to " intuitive " know 
ledge, which is almost mystical in character. The view 
of Heereboord, it may be remarked, is already found in 
Maimonides and other medieval Aristotelians. 

134, 7/. "That same thing" = Nature (line 6) or God 
(see line 10), or possibly the " thinking thing " i.e., the 


attribute Thought (see lines 157. and p. 64, lines 20 /.). The 
meaning is ultimately the same in any case. It may be 
that the sentence is imperfect, and (as suggested by Dr. W. 
Meyer) the following words should be inserted after " in " 
(line 7) : " the thinking thing, which idea is . . ." 

134, 18. The expression "cause" is not quite accurate 
here. What is meant (as the context shows) is that, corre 
sponding to that mode in the Attribute Extension called our 
body, there is a mode in the Attribute Thought called our 
soul ; but it is not the body that " produces " the soul (the 
Attribute Thought does that), it is only in a certain sense 
the " occasion" of its existence. Note ft was obviously 
intended to correct the false suggestion of the word " cause." 
Possibly the note was made, not by Spinoza, but by some 


136. Cf. p. 65, lines 31 ff. ; also Ethics, V. xxi.-xxiii., 
xxxiii. /., xxxviii. /. (In the Cogitata Metaphysica, II. xii., 
the soul is said to be immortal because it is a substance, 
and a substance cannot destroy itself, nor be destroyed 
by any other created substance. But this reasoning 
was obviously not intended to represent Spinoza s own 

Joel has rightly drawn attention to a certain similarity 
in the views of Spinoza and Maimonides on Immortality. 
According to both Maimonides and Spinoza, Immortality 
(in the higher sense) is not something which is the com 
mon right of all, independently of the lives they actually 
live, but rather a gift that has to be acquired by leading a 
life not only of moral uprightness, but also of strenuous 
effort after the highest kind of knowledge. Very similar to 
their view on Immortality is also their view on Providence. 
(See the note to 140, 21 ff.). 



138, 8. " What there is . . ." The Dutch is wot daar af 
is en te zeggen zoude zijn [ B : wat daar af is, en van het zelfde 
zou te zeggen zijn ]. The construction seems to be con 
fused ; but the meaning is clear. 

138, 13 ff. Cf. Ethics, V. xvii. (Deus expers est passionum, 
nee ullo Lcetitice aut Tristitice affectu afficitur) and xix. 
(Qui Deum amat, conari non potest, ut Deus ipsum contra 

138, 27 ff. Cf. Ethics, V. xxxvi. and xl. Schol.: ". . . Our 
mind, in so far as it understands, is an eternal mode of 
Thought, which is determined by another mode of Thought, 
and this again by another, et sic in infmitum ; so that all 
taken together constitute the eternal and infinite intellect of 

139, 4ff. Cf. Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, chapters iv., 
xvi., and xix. 

140, 21 ff. The following passage from Maimonides (Guide, 
III. liv. p. 395) throws some light on this paragraph (and 
also on parts of chapter xxiii.) : "Even this [moral per 
fection] is only a preparation for another perfection, and is 
not sought for its own sake. For all moral principles con 
cern the relation of man to his neighbour. . . . Imagine 
a person being all alone, and ... all his good moral 
principles . . . are not required. . . . These principles are 
only necessary and useful when man comes in contact with 
others. The fourth kind of perfection is the true perfection 
of man ; the possession of the highest intellectual faculties ; 
the possession of . . . true metaphysical notions concerning 
God. With this perfection man attains to his final end ; 
... it gives him immortality ; and makes him what is 
(properly) called Man." 

141, 5^. Cf. Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, i. vi. xiii. 



143. Cf. Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, ii. 

As already stated in the Introduction, this chapter on Devils 
played an important role in the recovery of the Short Treatise. 
Kindness shown even to the devil is not wasted. Devils 
and spirits of all sorts and conditions were very real things 
in those days ; Spinoza s quiet humour is much in advance 
of his time. In an earlier draft of the Treatise this chapter 
may have had a different place, for it is referred to as 
chapter xxi. by Hallmann. 

143, 15 ff. In Ethics, II. xxx., Spinoza says, on the contrary, 
that " the duration of our body does not depend upon its 
essence . . . but . . . upon the common order of nature 
and the constitution of things." 


144,8. B omits the words " through reason . . ."probably 
because the copyist (Monnikhoff) noticed that it had not 
been shown how "our blessedness" is attained " through 
reason." See note to 128, 12-17 (p. 230). 

144, 18 ff. Cf. Ethics, V. xlii.: " Blessedness is not virtue s 
reward, but virtue itself. . . . The more a mind delights in 
the love of God . . . the more does it understand, that is, 
the greater power has it over its feelings, and the less does 
it suffer from evil passions." 

144, 22 ff. Cf. Ethics, V. xli.: " Even if we did not know 
that our mind is eternal we should still hold Piety and 
Religion to be of first importance. . . . The creed of the 
multitude appears to be different. For most people seem to 
believe that they are free only in so far as they are permitted 
to indulge in lustfulness. . . . Piety and Religion . . . they 
believe to be burdens. . . ." It is only the hope of reward 
and the fear pf punishment after death that induce them to 


submit to the divine law. If they believed that minds perish 
with the body they would follow their own sweet will, and 
obey chance desires rather than themselves. But "this 
seems to be no less absurd than the conduct of a man who, 
because he does not believe that he can feed his body with 
good food to all eternity, decides to stuff himself with 
poisonous and deadly drugs; or because he sees that the 
mind is not eternal or immortal, therefore prefers to be mad 
and live without reason." 

145, 8 ff. The parable of the fish (as Joel has pointed out) 
was probably suggested to Spinoza by the following Tal- 
mudical legend (Babylonian Talmud, Berachot, 6ib quoted 
by Joel). In the reign of Hadrian the Romans prohibited 
the Jews to study the Law. Rabbi Akiba, however, persisted 
in studying and teaching it. And when a certain Pappos 
warned him of the danger that threatened him, he replied 
with the following parable : A fox on the banks of a river 
saw many fishes hurrying away from a certain spot. Asking 
them why they fled, he was told that they were afraid of the 
nets which had just been spread for them. " Come, then," 
suggested the fox, " come out, and let us live together on land, 
even as our forefathers did." " What ! " exclaimed the 
fishes, " if even in our own element we can only live in fear 
and dread, what shall we do on land, which to us spells 
death?" Even so, said Rabbi Akiba, is it with the Jews. 
The Law is our element, for it is written, "It is thy life 
and the length of thy days." If danger lurks in the study 
of the Law, a yet greater danger lurks in the neglect 

145, 28 /. Cf. Hosea, xi. 4: "I drew them . . . with bands 
of love" 

In the Ethics, V. xxxvi. Schol., Spinoza says that human 
Salvation, or Blessedness or Freedom, consists in " a constant 
and eternal love towards God." 

146, ii /. Cf. Ethics, V. xl. : " The more perfect a thing is 


the more reality it possesses, and consequently acts more 
and suffers less." 

146, 16 ff. Cf. Ethics, I. xxviii. and III. iv. 

146, 27 ff. Cf. p. 38, lines 12 /. 

147, i ff. Cf. p. 36, lines 21 ff. 

147, 5/. "Whole," however, is only an ens rationis, and 
does not adequately express the actual relationship of God 
to finite beings. 

147, 9 ff. Cf. Ethics, V. xxxviii. xl. Here it is maintained 
that the greater our union with God is, the greater is our 
activity ; in the Ethics we see the converse of this, namely, 
the more active we are (or the more we understand) the 
more are we united with God. 

147, i6ff. Cf. Ethics, V. xxix.-xxxi. 

147, 31 ff. Cf. Ethics, IV. xxxii.-xxxvii. 

148, 3 /. The Dutch is not very clear : hoe t zij, of niet 
zij, ik ben gehouwen of geslaagen, dit s klaar. 

148, 35 ff. This note is apparently just a marginal sum 

149, 12 ff. Cf. Letter XV., and the Introduction, pp. cxxiv. ff. 



153. This gives a " geometric " version of the first half of 
chapter ii. Part I. It is remarkable that no Definitions are 
given, although they are really essential features of the 
"geometric method." Spinoza, however, made good the 
omission not only in the Ethics, but already in a brief essay 
(very similar to this Appendix) which he sent to Oldenburg, 
whose first letter to Spinoza and the latter s reply thereto 
have already been referred to in the Introduction (pp. Ixiv. /., 
cxxiii.). In the course of his reply Spinoza remarks that 


he thought it best to state his explanations also separately 
in the geometric form, and that he was enclosing it for 
Oldenburg s perusal and criticism. Unfortunately the 
enclosed essay has been lost. The correspondence (Letters 
1 1. -IV.), however, leaves little doubt about the contents of 
that essay, which Sigwart has reconstructed as follows : 


1. Deum definio esse Ens constans infmitis attributis 
quorum unumquodque est infmitum sive summe perjectum 
in suo genere. 

2. Per attributum intelligo omne id quod concipitur per se et 
in se, adeo ut ipsius conceptus non involvat conceptum alterius 
rei. Ut ex, gr. extensio per se et in se concipitur ; at motus 
non item. Nam concipitur in alio, et ipsius conceptus involvit 

3. Ea res dicitur in suo genere infmita, qua alia ejusdem 
natura non terminatur. Sic corpus non terminatur cogitationc, 
nee cogitatio cor pore. 

4. Per substantiam intelligo id, quod per se et in se con 
cipitur, hoc est cujus conceptus non involvit conceptum 
alteriiis rei. 

5. Per modificationem sive per accidens intelligo id, quod in 
alio est et per id, in quo est, concipitur. 


1. Substantia est prior natura. suis accidentibus. 

2. Prater substantias el accidentia nil datur realiter, sive 
extra intellectum. 

3. Res qua diversa habent attributa, nihil habent inter se 

4. Rerum qua nihil habent inter se commune, una alterius 
causa csse non pot est. 




1. In rerum natura non possunt existere duce substantia 
ejusdem attributi. 

2. Substantia non potest produci [neque ab alia quacumque 
substantia] t sed de ipsius essentia est existere. 

3. Omnis substantia debet esse infinita sive summe perfecta in 
suo genere. 

There was also a Scholium like Schol. 2 in Ethics, I. viii., 
but it is difficult to restore the text of it. 

The first Appendix was probably a first draft of the above 
essay (1661), in which Definitions were added, while the rest 
was abridged. 

153, 6/. In the Cogitata Metaphysica (II. v.) Spinoza 
enumerates three kinds of " distinctions." Rerum distinctio 
triplex, Realis, Modalis, Rationis. The explanations which 
he adds are the same as those given by Descartes. See note 
to 102, 15 (pp.220/.). 

153, 19 /. Axiom 7 looks suspicious. It is really only a 
repetition of Axiom i. Possibly it was only a reader s note 
on Axiom i, but was incorporated in the text by an 
uncritical copyist. The suspicion is confirmed by the fact 
that no use is made of it in what follows. 


157, 3 ff. Cf. pp. 63 /., 127 ff. note. Observe the omission 
here of the argument that man is not a substance. 

157, 14 ff. Cf. pp. 57, 128 /., 134, and Ethics, II. i.-iv. 

On p. 24 (lines 31 ff.) it was maintained that whatever is 
in the infinite understanding of God must actually exist ; 
here (lines 18 ff.) we have the converse assertion, namely, 
that whatever is real must have its idea in the attribute 


The subject of paragraph i is really continued on p. 159, 
28-p. 160, 5, and Freudenthal held that these lines have 
got misplaced somehow, as they would fit in very well if 
placed immediately after p. 158, 2, while they are irrelevant 
in their actual context. 

157, 24^. In Ethics, II. vii. Schol., Spinoza says: "The 
[so-called] thinking substance and the [so-called] extended 
substance are really one and the same substance, which is 
comprehended now under this, now under that attribute. 
Similarly, a mode of extension and the idea of that mode are 
one and the same thing, only" expressed in two ways ; a 
truth which certain Hebrews appear to have seen as if 
through a cloud, for they state, namely, that God, the 
intellect of God, and the things which are apprehended by 
that intellect are one and the same thing." 

158, 4 ff. Cf. pp. 69 (lines 26 ff.), 121 ff. 

158, 7 ff. Cf. p. 79 (lines 8 ff.), and Ethics, III. vi. /. 

158, ii ff. Cf. pp. 127 ff. notes. 

159, 6. Realiter is not quite accurate here ; it is used 
in a wider sense or from a Cartesian point of view, accord 
ing to which " things " and " souls " are substances, which 
are therefore different realiter. 

159, 9. " Essence" that is, of the soul. 

159, 16 /. That is, he does not say " which exists as a 
material (or extended) thing. 1 

159, 24. "As regards their existence." Dutch, na haar 
wezentlijkheyt. The Latin was most probably realiter. 
Attributes do not differ realiter , because a distinctio realis is 
only between different substances. The attributes, however, 
though distinct, are not distinct substances, nor are they 
supported by distinct substances ; they are their own 
" subjects " or substrates (that is to say, they need no other 
" subjects " for their support), and together they constitute 
the one and only " Substance." 

159, 28 ff. See note to 157, 14 ff. (top of this page). 



160, 20. " Which really exists in Nature." The stress laid 
on this clause will only be understood after a careful reading 
of the whole paragraph, omitting p. 159, 28-p. 160, 5. So 
long as Extension and the other Attributes do not evolve 
particular modes having duration in time (existence), so long 
also there is only the Attribute Thought as an Attribute, and 
there are no individual " Ideas " or "Souls." "Souls" 
are only evolved out of the Attribute Thought in so far as 
particular " modes " (bodies, &c.) of the other Attributes 
come into existence. 

160, 26 /. Spinoza generally distinguishes between the 
attribute Thought and its infinite mode or Idea, Under 
standing. B must be wrong here. 

161, 6 ff. Cf. notes 7-14 on pp. 63 ff. These notes show 
a further development of the ideas in the present paragraph, 
and are most probably later additions. 

162, 13 ff. The concluding sentences really contain a very 
brief synopsis of the plan which Spinoza followed in the 
second part of the Ethics, where (as Sigwart has pointed out) 
propositions xi.-xix. are devoted to the consideration of the 
idea corporis and idea affectionum corporis, xx.-xxiii. to 
the idea idea ( = idea reflexiva), xxiv.-xxxi. to sense- 
experience, xxxii.-xxxvi. to adequate and inadequate ideas, 
xxxviii. ff. to reasoned knowledge, &c. The conclusion of 
the Short Treatise thus directs our attention to the Ethics. 


ABRAHAMS, I., xx f 

Accidental, 48 f, 90, 196 
cause, 48 f 

Act of Seclusion, Ixxvi 

Activity, 146 

Adam, 50, 76 

Akiba, 235 

Albertus Magnus, xxvii 

Alexander Aphrodisiensis, 197 

Alva, xiv 

Amsterdam, first Jews in, xv 

Anger, 83, 95, 143, 211 

Aniellos, Thomas, xxix 

" Animal spirits," see " Vital 
spirits " 

A posteriori proofs of God s exist 
ence, i6ff, 55, 142, 167, 172 

A priori proofs, 15, 20, 53, 55, 167 

Aquinas, Thomas, 20, 56, 172, 198 

Aristotle, xxvii, xxxii, 50, 70, 112, 
168, 199, 224 f, 229 

Armada, the, xv 

Arminius, xli 

Arnold, M., 1 

Attribute, 21, 30 f, 37 ff, 52 f, 55, 

153, 171, 174 f, 187, 199 
and property, 19, 31, 46 ff, 52 f, 

" Attribute or substance," 34, 52, 


Augustine, 200 
Avenarius, R., cxxv, cxxvii, 176, 


Averroes, 200 
Aversion, 82 ff, 210 
Awe of God, 116 

BACON, Ixiv f, 204, 212 

Balling, 1, liii, cxvi, cxxiv 

Baltzer, A., cxxvii 

Barlaeus, C., xxvii 

Barneveldt, xli, Ixxv 

Belief, 67 ff, 74 ff, 99, 102, 105, 118, 

205, 208 
Believer, 68 
Bell illustration, 1 1 3 
Beuningen, van, Ixix ff 
Berkeley, 169 
Bible, allusions to the, 42, 141, 211, 

225 f, 231, 235 

Bible, Spinoza s translation of the, 


Blyenbergh, Ixxii f 
Body, 63 ff, 107, 121 ff, 133 ff, 

227 ff, 234 
Boehmer, E., cv f, cxxvii, 65, 181 f, 


Bogaers, A., cvi 
Boldness, 90 ff, 214 
Bouwmeister, Ixviii 
Boyle, R., Ixiii, Ixv, Ixxi, xc, xciii 
Bravery, 91, 214 
Browning, R., 226 
Bruno, cxxvi, 167, 183, 187 
Burgersdijck, xxxi, 179, 190 ff, 

195, 225 

Burnet, Bishop, Ixxxvii 
Busse, L., cxxvii 

Calculation of Chances, Essay on 
the, Ixxxiv 

Casearius, lii, Ixii, Ixvi 

Casseres, S. de, xviii, xxiii, xxxviii 

Causa per accidens, 42, 193 
per se, 42, 193 
sui, 20, 54 f, 114, 149, 153, 171 f 

Cause, 1 06, 190 ff, 211 

Change, 20 

Charles II., Ixxi, Ixxvi, Ixxxv 

Charles V., Emperor, xiii 

Christ, xcix, 4, 200 f 

Christians, 72 f 

Christina, Queen of Sweden, xxvii 

Clauberg, 188, 194 

Clear knowledge, see Knowledge 

Clothes, Spinoza on, 97, 218 

Coccejus, Ixii 

Cogitata Metaphysica, see Meta 
physical Thoughts 

Cold, 161 

Coleridge, cii 

Colerus, xxix, xxxi, Ixxxi, c, cv, 218 

Collegiants, xxxvi, xli, Ivi, Ixii 

Conatus, 47, 196 

Conceit, 87 ff, 212 

Conde, Prince, Ixxxvii f 

Confidence, 90 ff, 213 f 

Confusion in Nature, 50 

Conscience, 84 

Contempt, 87 ff, 96, 212, 215 




Cossack persecutions, xliii f 
Costa, Uriel da, xxxiv, xlii f 
Courage, 90 f, 93 
Creation, xxxv, 23, 57, 108, 173, 


Crescas, xxxv, 174, 196 f, 208 f 
Cromwell, xxvii, Ixiii, Ixxvi 
Culpable humility, 87 f, 212 
Cupiditas, 112, 185, 225 

DEFINITION, rules of, 52 ff, 65 f 

Delmedigo, xxxiv 

Depression, fits of, 122 

Derision, 95, 215 f 

Descartes, xxxv, xlix ff, Ivi f, Ixiv f, 

Ixxv, xc, cxxvi, 55, 166 ff, 177 ff, 

185, 195, 197, 199, 205 ff, 211 f, 

215 ff, 226 ff 
Desire, 32 ff, 69, 73, 85, 100, 105, 

nof, 132, 185, 208, 224 f, 229 
Despair, 90 ff, 116, 213 f 
Deurhoff, W., cviii, cxv f 
Devils, civ f, cxxvi, 116, 143 f, 234 
Divine laws, 139 
Divine revelation, 141 
Divine service, 116 f 
Division, 28 f 
Dream, 103 
Duff, R. A., cxxviii 
Duns Scotus, xxvii, 169, 197 
Duration as involving continuous 
creation, 108, 224 

EFFICIENT cause, 41, 191 ff 

Eliot, George, 215 

Elisha ben Abuyali, xlvii 

Elizabeth, Queen, xv 

" Emanative cause," 41, 191 

" Eminent cause," 18, 170 

Eminenter, 18, 119, 170 

Emulation, 90 f, 93, 214 

Enden, Clara van den, xxxix, li 

Enden, F. van den, xxxi f , xxxix f, li, 
Ixxxvi, cxxvi 

Endgeest, Ivi 

Ens rationis, 38, 59, 75 f, 106 f, 178, 

Ens reale, 59, 76, 178, 209 

Envy, 83, 95, 116, 143, 211 

Episcopius, xxviii 

Erasmus, 36 ff 

Error, 102 f, 109 f 

Essence, 37, 65 f, 83, 103 ff, 116, 

128, 167 

and attributes, 26 
and existence, 15 ff, 128, 167 f 
and perfection, 83, 116, 143 

Esteem, 87 ff, 212 

Eternal laws, 140 

Eternity, 167 

Ethics, Spinoza s, Ixvii f , Ixx ff , Ixxx, 
Ixxxiii f, xcii ff, ciii ff, 172, 175 ff 
184, 186 ff, 195 ff, 200 ff. 208 ff 

Euripides, xxvii 

Evil, liii, 51, 54, 59 f, 74 ff, 82 

Ex nihilo nihil fit, 108 

Experience, 67 f, 73, 204 

" Extension," xxxv, 27 ff, 52, 57, 
63 ff, 119 ff, 128 f, 153 ff, 173 ff, 
178 f, 232 

" Extraneous denomination," 31, 
1 80 

FALSITY, 102 ff, 109 f, 220 f 

Favour, 98, 100, 218 f 

Fear, 73, 90 ff, 213 f 

Fear of God, 116 

Felbinger, xxx 

Ferdinand and Isabella, xii 

Final causes, xxxv 
end of things, 117 

First cause, 42, 194 

Fischer, Kuno, cxxviii 

Fish, parable of the, 145, 235 

" Formal," 157, 168 

Formaliter eminenter, 18, 170 

Formaliter objective, 16, 22 ff, 168 

Free cause, 41, 46, 80, 193 

Freedom, 44, 46, 144 ff, 235 

Free will, 105 ff 

Freudenthal, J., cxxii, cxxvi, 
cxxviii, 166 f, 169, 176, 182 f, 
185 f, 203, 222 ff, 226, 229 ff, 239 

Friedlander, M., 168 

GALILEO, xxxiv 

Garden of Flowers, A, Ixxx 

Gebhardt, C., cxxviii, 204 

General ideas, 50, 59, 106 ff 

General modes, 56 f, 78 

Generation and creation, 23 

Geometric method, Ixv f, Ixviii, 
236 f 

Gersonides, xxxiii, xxxv 

Glory, 96 f, 100, 217 f 

God, 21 ff, 119, 153 ff, 172, 184, 187 

233, 236, 239 
and Nature, xxxv, 22, 25 f, 

155 ff, 176 f 

and truth, 78, 103, 210 
the existence of, 15 ff, 52 f, 172 
the highest good, 54, 76, 80 f, 

86, 100, 118, 144 ff, 213 
the immanence of, 30, 179 

God s love of man. 138 ff 

Godliness, 143 

Goethe, cii 

Good and evil, liii ff, 44 f, 51, 54, 
59 f, 74 ff, 82, 100, 198 f 

Grace, cxxvi, 1 1 8 



Gratitude, 98, 100, 218 f 
Greed, 98 

Gresham College, Ixii f 
Grief, 99, 211, 219 
Grotius, xxvii ft, xli 
Guide of the Perplexed, The, xxxiii, 
xcix, &c. See Maimonides 

HALLMANN, civ, cxvii, 165, 234 
Happiness, n8ff, 133, 219 f, 234 
Hatchet, parable of the, 117 
Hatred, 33, 72, 82 ff, 100, 121 ff, 

143, 208, 210, 215 
Hearsay, 67 f, 71 
Heat, 161 
Hebrew Grammar, Spinoza s, Ixxxiv, 

Heereboord, xxxi, 190, 193, 195, 

198, 231 

Heidelberg professorship, Ixxxix 
Heine, xix, xcvii 
Hell, 116 
" Higher criticism " of the Bible, 

Homan, Ivi 
Homo Politicus, xcix 
Honour, liv, 79 
Hope, 90 ff, 213 f 
Hudde, Ixix f 

Human happiness, 118 ff, 133 
Human laws, 139 f 
Human weakness, 79 
Humility, 87 f, 212, 215 
Huygens, xlix, Ixii, Ixix ff, xc 
Hypocrites, 87 f 
t ., 

IBN EZRA, xxi, xxxii f, xxxv 

Ibn Gabirol, xxvii 

Idea, 50, 63 ff, 67 ff, 76, 102, 106 f, 

157 ff, 170, 220 
Ideas and existence, 18 
Ideas of God, 129 
Idea reftexiva, 129, 162, 230, 240 
Ideatum, 16 f, 169 
Imagination, 18, 85 
Immanent cause, 30, 34 ff, 41, 146 f, 


Immediate mode, 158 
Immortality, 61, 101, 123, 135 ff, 

145, 147, 162, 232 
Impulse, 124 
Inciting cause, 42, 194 
Indignation, 95, 217 
Induction, 68, 70, 73 
Infinite idea, 158, 162 
Inquisition, the, xii ff, xxv f 
In sensu composite, 48, 196 f 
In sensu diviso, 48, 196 f 
Instrumental cause, 42, 193 
" Invisible College," the, Ixiii 

JEALOUSY, 90, 92, 214 

Jelles, 1 f, liii, Ixvii, xcvii, cv, cxv, 


Jesting, 95, 216 
Jews, xi ff, 72 f 
Joachim, H. H., cxxviii 
Joel, M., cxxviii, 196 f, 205, 208, 

232, 235 
Jones, R., Ixii 
Joy, 85 f, 90 f, 211 
Judah the Faithful, xxi 
Judas, 60 

Judgment, 109, 224 
Justice, 45 


Karl Ludwig, Elector Palatine, 


Katwijk-aan-Zee, Ivi 
Kayserling, xxx 
Keckermann, 194 
Kerckrinck, xxxix, 1 f 
Knowledge, 67 ff, 74, 76, 99, 118, 

133 f, 204 f, 208 f, 219, 221 f, 231 
Koerbagh, A. and J., Ixii, Ixxx f 

LATIN among the Jews, xxx f 

Laughter, 95, 124, 215 ff 

Law, sin, and grace, cxxvi, 118 

Laws of Nature, 139 f, 196 

Leibniz, xlix, xc, xciv ff, 169 

Lessing, xcvii, cii 

Leyden, Ivi 

Light in Dark Places, Ixxx 

Light on the Candlestick, The, 1 

Linde, A. van der, cix 

Louis XIV., Ixxi, Ixxxv f, Ixxxviii, 

Love, 32 ff, 69, 71 f, 78 ff, 100, 

121 ff, 132, 188, 209, 220 
of God, 80 f, 116, 123, 133, 

144 ff, 210, 233 
Lucas, J. M., xc, c, 218 
Luxemburg, Count, Ixxxviii 

MAIMONIDES, xxvii f, xxxiii, xxxv, 
xcix, 167, 174, 176 f, 189, 197 f, 
205, 231 ff 

Man, 63, n6f, 120, 157, 203, 211 
a perfect, 84 
and Nature, 140 
as the servant of God, 115, 225 
Manasseh ben Israel, xxv ff, xxxiv f, 

xlv, Ixix, cxxvi 
Maranos, xii f 
Margaret of Parma, xiv 
Martineau, J., cxxviii, 164, 183 f, 210 
Matter, 119 
Mennonites, xxxvi, xli 



Metaphysical Thoughts, liii, Ixxii, 

167, 173, 188, 195 ff, 209, 231, 237 
Meyer, L., 1 ff, Ixvii f, Ixxvii, xcvii, 

cxvii, cxxiv 
Meyer, W., cxvi f, cxxvii, 187, 189 f, 

223, 231 
Milton, Ixiii 
Miracles, 142 
Mochinger, xxxi 

Modal difference, 153 ff, 220 f, 237 
Modaliter, 153 ff 

Mode, 33, 55 ff, 63 ff, 78, 153, 158 
Monnikhoff, cviii ff, 165 f, 190 
Morteira, Saul, xxiii, xxv, xxx, 

Motion and rest, 28, 30, 39, 57, 63 ff, 

120 ff, 126, 130, 153 ff. 161, 172, 

199 ff, 229 
Miiller, F., cv f, cix 
Murr, C. T. de, cv 
Mylius, J. C., cv 

Natura naturans, 56, 199 f 
Natura naturata, 56 f, 199 f 
Natural cause, 41, 193 
Nature, xxxv, 30, 32 f, 47, 55 ff, 

80, 128, 173, 184 
Nature = extension, 28 
Nature and God, 22, 25 f, 151 f, 156 f 
Navigation Act, the, Ixxvi 
Negative theology, 53, 198 
Netherlands, the Jews in the, xiii ff 
Nil volentibus arduum, Hi 
Non-existence, 44 
Noordwijk-aan-Zee, Ivi 
Nunes, Maria, xv 

OBJECT, 169 

Objective, 16, 157 f, 168 f 

Objective essence, 18, 170 

Oblivion, 33 

Occasionalism, 226 f 

Oldenburg, H., Ixi ff, Ixx ff, xc ff, 

cxxiii, 236 

Opera Posthuma, xcvi, ciii, ex, 165 
Opinion, 67 ff, 105, 118, 131, 204 f 
Ouderkerk or Ouwerkerk, xxv, 

xlviii f 
Ovid, 231 

PAIN, 127, 161 f 

Pallache, S., xv f 

" Passion," 69 ff, 116, 123, 126, 131, 

206 f, 213, 217, 219 
Passivity, 29 f, 146, 221 
Paul, 50, 129 
Paul IV., xiii 
Perfection, 83, 143 
Perpetual Edict, the, Ixxxv 

Perrenot (Cardinal Granvelle), xiii 

Peter, 50 f, 60, 128 f 

Peter Lombard, 177 

Philip II., xiii 

Philip III., xxv, xl 

Philo Judaeus, 198 

Plato, xxvii, 50, 172, 225 

Pleasure, liv, 79, 145 

Political Treatise, The, Ixxxiv, 

xciii f 

Pollock, Sir F., cxxviii, 218 
Powell, E. E., cxxviii 
Predestination, 43 f, 48 
Predisposing cause, 42, 194 
Preservation, 108, 224 
Pride, 1 1 5 f 

Principal cause, 42, 193 
Principia Philosophic Cartesians, 

Ixvi ff, Ixx, Ixxxvii, xciv, cix f, 


Properties or propria, 19, 41, 171 
Providence, 47, 50, 197 
Provoking cause, 42 f, 193 f 
Proximate cause, 42, 188 
Psycho-physical parallelism, 227 ff 
Pusillanimity, 90 f, 93 f, 214 

Rainbow, Essay on the, Ixxxiv, ciii 
Rationalism of medieval Jews, 

xxxii f 
" Real difference," 102, 153 ff, 159, 

220 f, 237 

Realiter, 102, 153 ff, 159 
Reason, 32 ff, 68 f, 74, 80, 94, 99, 

131 f, 145, 184 f, 215 
Regeneration, cxxvi, 135 
Regius, 217 
Reimmann, J. F., cv 
Relations, 59 
Rembrandt, xxviii f 
" Remonstrance," the, xli 
Remorse, 33, 94, 2i4f 
Remote cause, 36, 42, 188 
Repentance, 94, 215 
Rest, see Motion 
Revelation, 141 
Riches, liv, 79 
Rieuwertsz, 1, liii, Ixviii, xcvi, ciii, 

cxvii, 165 

Rijnsburg, Iv ff, Ixviii 
Rijnsburgers, Ivi, Ixii 
Rivaud, A., cxxviii 
Robinson, L., 217 
Royal Society, the, Ixii f, Ixxi f 
Rule of three, the, 67 f, 74 
Ruyter, de, Ixxxv 


St. Denis, C. de, Ixxix 

St. Everemont, Seigneur de, Ixxix 


Sceptics, 88, 212 f 

Schaarschmidt, C., cxix, cxxvii 

Schuller, G. H., xc, xciv ft 

Scorn, 215 

Scotus Erigena, 200 

Second notion (or intention), 34, 


Secret Treaty of Dover, the, Ixxxv 
Self-love, 96 ff, 100 
Self-preservation, 47, 158 
Self-respect, 87 f, 212 
Senses, the, 129 
Shame and shamelessness, 96 f, 

217 f 
Short Treatise, The, liii, Iv, Iviii ff, 

Ixv, Ixx, xcii, xcix, ciii ff 
Sigwart, C., cxix, cxxvii f, 169, 176, 

183, 195, 199, 202, 205, 230 
Silva, S. da, xxxiv, xlii f 
Sin, 50 f, 54, 140, 144 
Sin, law, and grace, cxxvi, 1 1 8 
Sobierre, xxviii 
Socinians, xli 
Socrates, 82 
" Son of God," cxxvi, 57, 134, 160, 

200 f 

Sorrow, 83, 85 f, 90 f, 94, 100, 116, 

123 ff, 210 f 
Soul, 63 ff, 1 06 f, 121 ff, 126 ff, 

133 ff, 157 ff, 216 f, 227 f 
Spain and Portugal, the Jews in, 

Spinoza, his birth, xi 

his parentage, xvi ff 
his home life, xviii ff 
his education, xxiv ff 
his excommunication, xlv f 
his friends, xlix ff 
Spinoza-lane, Ivi 
Spinoza Museum, frontispiece, Ivii, 


Spinoza, statue of, xcvii 
Spirits, see Vital spirits 
Spyck, H. van der, Ixxxiii, Ixxxvi, 

Ixxxviii, xcv f, xcix 
Stolle, G., civ f, cxvii 
Stoupe, Ixxxvii f 

Subjectum, 18 f, 27, 155, 159 f, 168 
Subsidiary cause, 42, 193 
Sub specie boni, 73, in f 
Sub specie mali, 1 1 1 
Substance, 21 ff, 33, 55, 63 ff, 153 ff, 

172 f, 184, 186, 239 
Substance not passive, 29 f 
Substance or attribute, 29, 32, 34, 

52, 55, 174 f 
" Substantial " extension and 

thought, 27 f, 63 f 
Surprise, 70 f, 77 f, 85, 208 f 
Synod of Dordrecht, the, xli 


Terror, 116 

Theophilus, 36 ff, 187 

" Thing of reason," 38, 59, 75 f, 

Things reveal themselves, 103, 

108 ff, 123, 133 
Thomas, xciv 

Thomas Aquinas, 20, 56, 172 
Thomists, the, 56 
Thought, 27 f, 30, 52, 57, 63 ff, 

120 f, 128 f, 153 ff, 173 ff, 187, 

231 f 

Timidity, 90, 92, 214 
Titelmann, P., xiv 
Torquemada, xii 
Tractatus de Intellectus Emcnda- 

tione, xlix, liii ff, Ixi, Ixv, xci, 

xcvi, cii, cxxiii, 198 f, 204, 211 f, 

219 f 
Tractatus Politicus, Ixxxiv, xciii f, 

Tractatus Theologico - Politicus, 

Ixxiv ff, Ixxxi ff, Ixxxvii, xci, 

xciv, xcix, cix, cxvi f, 180, 195 f, 

210, 221, 225, 233 f 

Transeunt cause, 34, 41, 179 
Trendelenburg, A., cxxviii, 190, 225 
Triple Alliance, the, Ixxxv 
True belief, see Belief 
Truth, 94, 102 ff, 220 f 
Truth = God, 78, 103, 210 
Tschirnhaus, Ixix, xc f, xciv 
Turks, xcix, 72 f 
Tydemann, Ixviii, Ixxix 

UNDERSTANDING, 32, 37 f, 57 f, 99, 
106 f, 141 f, 147, 153, 184 f, 
199 ff 

an immanent cause, 30, 34, 180 
passive, 103, 108 ff, 123 
Union of Utrecht, the, xiv f, xlii 
Union with God, 40, 76, 147, 236 
Unity of Nature, 26 f, 32 ff 
Universal cause, 42, 194 f 
Universals, 50, 59, 106, 197 
Uzziel, Rabbi, xxvi, xxix 

VACILLATION, 90 ff, 213 f 

Vacuum, 28 

Veitch, J., 167 

Velen, van, Ixxxi, Ixxxiii 

Virgil, xxvii 

Virtue, 234 

Vital spirits, 95, 121 f, i26f, 130, 

135, 216 f, 228 
Vloten, J. van, cvi, cxxvii 
Voluntas and voluptas, 112, 224 f 



Voorburg, Ixvii ft 
Vossius, xxvii ft, Ixix 
Vries, S. J. de, 1, lii f. Ixviii, Ixxx, 

WATER, 29 

Well-being, human, 105 
" Whole," 34, 38, 147, 236 

and " cause," 34 f 

and " general," 38 
Will, 69, 105 ft, 22$ 
William the Silent, xiv f, xl, xlvii 

William II.. Ixxv f 

William III., Ixxvi, Ixxxii, Ixxxv f 

Willis, R., 165 

Witt, Jacob de, Ixxvi 

Witt, Jan de, Ixix, Ixxi, Ixxv ft, 

Ixxxii, Ixxxiv ft, xciii 
Wolf, L., xxx 
Wordsworth, cii 
Worship, 1 1 6 
Wrath, 143 

ZACUTO, M., xxii, xxxi 

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